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Validation of a rapid, saliva-based, and ultra-sensitive SARS-CoV-2 screening system for pandemic-scale infection surveillance

Dewhurst, R.E., Heinrich, T., Watt, P., Ostergaard, P., Marimon, J.M., Moreira, M., Houldsworth, P.E., Rudrum, J.D., Wood, D. and Kõks, S. (2022) Validation of a rapid, saliva-based, and ultra-sensitive SARS-CoV-2 screening system for pandemic-scale infection surveillance. Scientific Reports, 12 (1). Art. 5936.

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Without any realistic prospect of comprehensive global vaccine coverage and lasting immunity, control of pandemics such as COVID-19 will require implementation of large-scale, rapid identification and isolation of infectious individuals to limit further transmission. Here, we describe an automated, high-throughput integrated screening platform, incorporating saliva-based loop-mediated isothermal amplification (LAMP) technology, that is designed for population-scale sensitive detection of infectious carriers of SARS-CoV-2 RNA. Central to this surveillance system is the “Sentinel” testing instrument, which is capable of reporting results within 25 min of saliva sample collection with a throughput of up to 3840 results per hour. It incorporates continuous flow loading of samples at random intervals to cost-effectively adjust for fluctuations in testing demand. Independent validation of our saliva-based RT-LAMP technology on an automated LAMP instrument coined the “Sentinel”, found 98.7% sensitivity, 97.6% specificity, and 98% accuracy against a RT-PCR comparator assay, confirming its suitability for surveillance screening. This Sentinel surveillance system offers a feasible and scalable approach to complement vaccination, to curb the spread of COVID-19 variants, and control future pandemics to save lives.

Item Type: Journal Article
Murdoch Affiliation(s): Centre for Molecular Medicine and Innovative Therapeutics (CMMIT)
Publisher: Springer Nature
Copyright: © 2022 The Authors.
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