An ultrafast SARS-CoV-2 virus enrichment and extraction method compatible with multiple modalities for RNA detection
ABSTRACT: Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) is a zoonotic RNA virus characterized by high transmission rates and pathogenicity worldwide. Continued control of the COVID-19 pandemic requires the diversification of rapid, easy to use, sensitive, and portable methods for SARS-CoV-2 sample preparation and analysis. Here, we propose a method for SARS-CoV-2 viral enrichment and enzymatic extraction of RNA from clinically relevant matrices in under 10 min. This technique utilizes affinity-capture hydrogel particles to concentrate SARS-CoV-2 from solution, and leverages existing PDQeX technology for RNA isolation. Characterization of our method is accomplished with reverse transcription real-time polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) for relative, comparative RNA detection. In a double-blind study analyzing viral transport media (VTM) obtained from clinical nasopharyngeal swabs, our sample preparation method demonstrated both comparable results to a routinely used commercial extraction kit and 100% concordance with laboratory diagnoses. Compatibility of eluates with alternative forms of analysis was confirmed using microfluidic RT-PCR (μRT-PCR), recombinasepolymerase amplification (RPA), and loop-mediated isothermal amplification (LAMP). The alternative methods explored here conveyed successful amplification from all RNA eluates originating from positive clinical samples. Finally, this method demonstrated high performance within a saliva matrix across a broad range of viral titers and dilutions up to 90% saliva matrix, and sets the stage for miniaturization to the microscale.