Development of COVID‑19 Dual Diagnostic Test of Viral RNA and Proteins using DNA Aptamers and Real-Time PCR
Accurate and widespread testing is critical in identifying COVID‑19 red zones, tracking its spread, and ensuring infected patients are treated quickly. RT-PCR-based tests for COVID‑19 appear to be sensitive but present significant issues that could affect specificity. This project, in partnership with Lumex Instruments Canada and Prof. Dr. Maxim Berezovski at the University of Ottawa, develops a combined test of the viral RNA and viral proteins using Lumex rRT-PCR instrument aiming to increase specificity and sensitivity of the assay. The viral RNA will be detected by three sets of primers that target the nucleocapsid gene and are designed for both universal detections of SARS-like coronavirus as well as specific detection of the 2019-nCoV. Also, the viral proteins (N and S proteins) will be detected by DNA aptamers. This dual detection of the viral RNA and proteins will provide a comprehensive diagnosis of COVID‑19 in biological fluids (blood, saliva, sputum, nasopharyngeal or oropharyngeal swabs). The total analyses will be performed on-chip in 2 hours, including sample preparation, reagents addition and analysis of results.