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    The worldwide demand for SARS-CoV-2 RT-PCR testing resulted in a shortage of diagnostic kits. RNA extraction step constitutes a major bottleneck to perform diagnostic. The aim of this study was to assess performances of different extraction-free SARS-CoV-2 RT-PCR assays compared to a reference RT-PCR assay. The panel of evaluation consisted of 94 samples: 69 positive and 25 negative for SARS-CoV-2 by reference RT-PCR. Three extraction-free RT-PCR assays were assessed: (i) PrimeDirect® Probe RT-qPCR Mix (Takara), (ii) PrimeScript®RT-PCR (Takara), and (iii) SARS-CoV-2 SANSURE®BIOTECH Novel Coronavirus (Sansure). The overall sensitivity of PrimeDirect, PrimeScript and Sansure assays was 55.1 %, 69.6 % and 69.6 %, respectively. The sensitivity increased among samples with Ct<30: 91.9 % (n = 34/37), 89.2 % (n = 33/37) and 94.6 % (n = 35/37) for PrimeDirect, PrimeScript and Sansure assays, respectively. The specificity was 88 %, 100 % and 100 % for PrimeDirect, PrimeScript and Sansure assays, respectively. In the present study, we showed a good sensitivity of extraction-free PCR assays, especially for high viral loads (Ct<30), except PrimeDirect that displayed imperfect sensitivity and specificity. Despite a lower sensitivity for low viral loads, extraction-free reagents can provide a valuable option, cheaper, easier and less reagent consuming for SARS-CoV-2 diagnostic, especially in laboratory with lower experience and equipment for molecular assays. Copyright © 2021 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.


    Benoit Visseaux, Gilles Collin, Nadhira Houhou-Fidouh, Quentin Le Hingrat, Valentine Marie Ferré, Florence Damond, Houria Ichou, Diane Descamps, Charlotte Charpentier. Evaluation of three extraction-free SARS-CoV-2 RT-PCR assays: A feasible alternative approach with low technical requirements. Journal of virological methods. 2021 May;291:114086

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    PMID: 33577957

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