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Jiyong Cheong, Hojeong Yu, Chang Yeol Lee, Jung-uk Lee,..., Jae-Hyun Lee*, Hakho Lee* & Jinwoo Cheon*
Fast detection of SARS-CoV-2 RNA via the integration of plasmonic thermocycling and fluorescence detection in a portable device
Nat. Biomed. Eng., 4, 1159–1167
Date: Dec 10, 2020


The diagnosis of severe acute respiratory syndrome 2 (SARS-CoV-2) infection by quantitative PCR with reverse transcription (RT–qPCR) typically involves bulky instrumentation in centralized laboratories and an assay time of 1–2 h. Here, we show that SARS-CoV-2 RNA can be detected in 17 min via a portable device integrating reverse transcription, fast thermocycling (via plasmonic heating through magneto-plasmonic nanoparticles) and in situ fluorescence detection following magnetic clearance of the nanoparticles. The device correctly classified all nasopharyngeal, oropharyngeal and sputum samples from 75 patients with COVID-19 and 75 healthy controls, with good concordance in fluorescence intensity with standard RT–qPCR (Pearson coefficients > 0.7 for the N1N2 and RPP30 genes). Fast, portable and automated nucleic acid detection should facilitate testing at the point of care.

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