Early detection of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is critical for both initiating appropriate treatment and preventing the spread of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), the causative agent. A simple and rapid diagnostic test that can be performed without any expensive equipment would be valuable for clinicians working in a low-resource setting. Here, we report a point-of-care detection technique for COVID-19 that combines the power of isothermal amplification (reverse transcription helicase-dependent amplification, RT-HDA) and dipstick technologies. The limit of detection of this diagnostic test is six copies of SARS-CoV-2 µl in clinical specimens. Of the 22 clinical specimens tested, RT-HDA-coupled dipstick correctly identified all positive and negative specimens. The RT-HDA can be performed over a heating block and the results can be interpreted visually with the dipstick technology without any specialized equipment. Furthermore, the RT-HDA-coupled dipstick could be performed in a short turnaround time of ~2 h. Thus, the RT-HDA-coupled dipstick could serve as a point-of-care diagnostic test for COVID-19 in a low-resource environment.

This study was supported by the:
  • Global Infectious Diseases Institute, University of Virginia
    • Principle Award Recipient: WuMartinShanmugakaniRathina Kumar
  • This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License. The Microbiology Society waived the open access fees for this article.

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