Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item:
SARS-CoV-2 detection using digital PCR for COVID-19 diagnosis, treatment monitoring and criteria for discharge
Renfei Lu.
Jian Wang.
Min Li.
Yaqi Wang.
Jia Dong.
Weihua Cai.
Acceso Abierto
Background: SARS-CoV-2 nucleic acid detection by RT-PCR is one of the criteria approved by China FDA for diagnosis of COVID-19. However, inaccurate test results (for example, high false negative rate and some false positive rate) were reported in both China and US CDC using the RT-PCR method. Inaccurate results are caused by inadequate detection sensitivity of RT-PCR, low viral load in some patients, difficulty to collect samples from COVID-19 patients, insufficient sample loading during RT-PCR tests, and RNA degradation during sample handling process. False negative detection could subject patients to multiple tests before diagnosis can be made, which burdens health care system. Delayed diagnosis could cause infected patients to miss the best treatment time window. False negative detection could also lead to prematurely releasing infected patients who still carry residual SARS-CoV-2 virus. In this case, these patients could infect many others. A high sensitivity RNA detection method to resolve the existing issues of RT-PCR is in need for more accurate COVID-19 diagnosis. Methods: Digital PCR (dPCR) instrument DropX-2000 and assay kits were used to detect SARS-CoV-2 from 108 clinical specimens from 36 patients including pharyngeal swab, stool and blood from different days during hospitalization. Double-blinded experiment data of 108 clinical specimens by dPCR methods were compared with results from officially approved RT-PCR assay. A total of 109 samples including 108 clinical specimens and 1 negative control sample were tested in this study. All of 109 samples, 26 were from 21patients reported as positive by officially approved clinical RT-PCR detection in local CDC and then hospitalized in Nantong Third Hospital. Among the 109 samples, dPCR detected 30 positive samples on ORFA1ab gene, 47 samples with N gene positive, and 30 samples with double positive on ORFA1ab and N genes. Results: The lower limit of detection of the optimize dPCR is at least 10-fold lower than that of RT-PCR. The overall accuracy of dPCR for clinical detection is 96.3%. 4 out 4 of (100 %) negative pharyngeal swab samples checked by RT-PCR were positive judged by dPCR based on the follow-up investigation. 2 of 2 samples in the RT-PCR grey area (Ct value > 37) were confirmed by dPCR with positive results. 1 patient being tested positive by RT-PCR was confirmed to be negative by dPCR. The dPCR results show clear viral loading decrease in 12 patients as treatment proceed, which can be a useful tool for monitoring COVID-19 treatment. Conclusions: Digital PCR shows improved lower limit of detection, sensitivity and accuracy, enabling COVID-19 detection with less false negative and false positive results comparing with RT-PCR, especially for the tests with low viral load specimens. We showed evidences that dPCR is powerful in detecting asymptomatic patients and suspected patients. Digital PCR is capable of checking the negative results caused by insufficient sample loading by quantifying internal reference gene from human RNA in the PCR reactions. Multi-channel fluorescence dPCR system (FAM/HEX/CY5/ROX) is able to detect more target genes in a single multiplex assay, providing quantitative count of viral load in specimens, which is a powerful tool for monitoring COVID-19 treatment.
Appears in Collections:Artículos científicos

Upload archives

File SizeFormat 
1109374.pdf814.03 kBAdobe PDFView/Open