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  • Writer's pictureRaymond Wong

New publication: Rapid testing of COVID19 using LAMP assay

The team has tested the use of LAMP assay for rapid detection of SARS-CoV-2 - it's simple, cheap and highly sensitive, supporting the use of LAMP assays as rapid test for COVID19.

Comparative analysis of loop-mediated isothermal amplification (LAMP)-based assays for rapid detection of SARS-CoV-2 genes

Daniel Urrutia-Cabrera, Roxanne Hsiang-Chi Liou, Jiang-Hui Wang, Jianxiong Chan, Sandy Shen-Chi Hung, Alex W. Hewitt, Keith R. Martin, Thomas L. Edwards, Patrick Kwan, Raymond Ching-Bong Wong

Scientific Reports, 2021, 11: 22493


The COVID-19 pandemic caused by SARS-CoV-2 has infected millions worldwide, therefore there is an urgent need to increase our diagnostic capacity to identify infected cases. Although RT-qPCR remains the gold standard for SARS-CoV-2 detection, this method requires specialised equipment in a diagnostic laboratory and has a long turn-around time to process the samples. To address this, several groups have recently reported the development of loop-mediated isothermal amplification (LAMP) as a simple, low cost and rapid method for SARS-CoV-2 detection. Herein we present a comparative analysis of three LAMP-based assays that target different regions of the SARS-CoV-2: ORF1ab RdRP, ORF1ab nsp3 and Gene N. We perform a detailed assessment of their sensitivity, kinetics and false positive rates for SARS-CoV-2 diagnostics in LAMP or RT-LAMP reactions, using colorimetric or fluorescent detection. Our results independently validate that all three assays can detect SARS-CoV-2 in 30 min, with robust accuracy at detecting as little as 1000 RNA copies and the results can be visualised simply by color changes. Incorporation of RT-LAMP with fluorescent detection further increases the detection sensitivity to as little as 100 RNA copies. We also note the shortcomings of some LAMP-based assays, including variable results with shorter reaction time or lower load of SARS-CoV-2, and false positive results in some experimental conditions and clinical saliva samples. Overall for RT-LAMP detection, the ORF1ab RdRP and ORF1ab nsp3 assays have faster kinetics for detection but varying degrees of false positives detection, whereas the Gene N assay exhibits no false positives in 30 min reaction time, which highlights the importance of optimal primer design to minimise false-positives in RT-LAMP. This study provides validation of the performance of LAMP-based assays as a rapid, highly sensitive detection method for SARS-CoV-2, which have important implications in development of point-of-care diagnostics for SARS-CoV-2.

Read the publication here.


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