Method circumventing RNA extraction in RT-PCR COVID-19 testing published along with data
COVID-19 infection is most commonly tested using reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR), but RNA purification constitutes a logistically demanding and costly prerequisite for conventional RT-PCR based diagnostics. To accommodate expansion of COVID-19 testing, researchers at the Karolinska Institute (PI: Björn Reinius; first authors; Ioanna Smyrlaki, Martin Ekman) developed a simple, cheap, and RNA extraction-free RT-PCR-based test, retaining high accuracy in identifying positive and negative cases. The method has broad implications to simplify COVID-19 testing within as well as outside health-care-facility settings and for periodic testing of asymptomatic people, benefitting patient care and infection control.
From start, the researchers continuously shared their results on the medRxiv.org pre-print server (first version April 17th 2020), gaining considerable attention. Data from the paper is freely available on Nature Communications and computational code is openly provided at github.com/reiniuslab/COVID19.
The project is part of the SciLifeLab National COVID-19 Research Program founded by Knut and Alice Wallenberg Foundation and SciLifeLab. Additionally supported by the Swedish Research Council and Ragnar Söderbergs Stiftelse.
Smyrlaki I., Ekman, M., Lentini, A., de Sousa, N. R., Papanicolaou, N., Vondracek, M., Aarum, J., Safari, H., Muradrasoli, S., Rothfuchs, A. G., Albert, J., Högberg, B., Reinius, B. Massive and rapid COVID-19 testing is feasible by extraction-free SARS-CoV-2 RT-PCR. Nat Commun 11, 4812 (2020)
Link to source data available under the DOI above.