Research ArticleCORONAVIRUS

A colorimetric RT-LAMP assay and LAMP-sequencing for detecting SARS-CoV-2 RNA in clinical samples

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Science Translational Medicine  12 Aug 2020:
Vol. 12, Issue 556, eabc7075
DOI: 10.1126/scitranslmed.abc7075

A colorful test for SARS-CoV-2 RNA detection

We need simple methods to rapidly test large numbers of people for infection with the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus. Quantitative PCR (qPCR) after reverse transcription (RT), the standard method, is very sensitive but requires expensive instrumentation. Loop-mediated isothermal amplification (LAMP) is an alternative to qPCR that is faster and requires fewer resources. Dao Thi et al. tested the RT-LAMP assay on several hundred clinical RNA samples isolated from pharyngeal swabs collected from individuals being tested for COVID-19. They confirmed that the RT-LAMP assay was a simpler albeit less sensitive option compared to RT-qPCR for large-scale testing for SARS-CoV-2 RNA. These investigators also developed a simplified version of this method (direct swab–to–RT-LAMP assay) that did not require a prior RNA isolation step as well as a method for highly multiplexed sequencing of RT-LAMP reactions (LAMP-sequencing).

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