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Comparison between Conventional qPCR and Microfluidic Chip-Based PCR System for COVID-19 Nucleic Acid Detection

Author(s): Francesca Dragoni, Maria Garofalo, Rosa Trotti, Yiteng Liu, Cristina Cereda, Stella Gagliardi

In the last year, COVID-19, rapidly evolved in a global pandemic. Clinical diagnosis is fundamental for the restriction of pandemic spread and different approaches have been proposed. Since large-scale laboratory screening takes time to ensure sensitivity of diagnostic tests, aim of this study was to suggest a fast and sensitive viral nucleic acids’ detection system from nasopharyngeal swabs collected in Universal Transport Media (UTM). We compare the common qRT-PCR technique with the innovative SWM-01 method to detect viral RNA from 20 samples collected in UTM. We also provide a new qRT-PCR protocol based on the use of lower amount of reagents in the reaction mix useful to avoid waste of material in pandemic time. We demonstrate that results obtained with two different detection systems and different amount of reagents are comparable. Moreover, we demonstrate that strong positive samples are correctly detected with the new system and with higher sensitivity than the classic qRT-PCR which detects samples with a delay. Weakly positive samples, instead, are incorrectly assigned with the new analyzer possibly due to a detection limit of the instrument itself. We propose the SHINEWAY SWM-01 Nucleic Acids Analyzer (SWM-01) as a promising diagnostic system suitable for routine diagnosis process.

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    Michael Maes

  • Molecular Biology and Neuroscience
    Deakin University
    Victoria, Australia

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