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Contamination-free visual detection of SARS-CoV-2 with CRISPR/Cas12a: A promising method in the point-of-care detection

The outbreaks of the infectious disease COVID-19 caused by SARS-CoV-2 seriously threatened the life of humans. A rapid, reliable and specific detection method was urgently needed. Herein, we reported a contamination-free visual detection method for SARS-CoV-2 with LAMP and CRISPR/Cas12a technology. CRISPR/Cas12a reagents were pre-added on the inner wall of the tube lid. After LAMP reaction, CRISPR/Cas12a reagents were flowed into the tube and mixed with amplicon solution by hand shaking, which can effectively avoid possible amplicon formed aerosol contamination caused by re-opening the lid after amplification. CRISPR/Cas12a can highly specific recognize target sequence and discriminately cleave single strand DNA probes (5'-6FAM 3'-BHQ1). With smart phone and portable 3D printing instrument, the produced fluorescence can be seen by naked eyes without any dedicated instruments, which is promising in the point-of-care detection. The whole amplification and detection process could be completed within 40 min with high sensitivity of 20 copies RNA of SARS-CoV-2. This reaction had high specificity and could avoid cross-reactivity with other common viruses such as influenza virus. For 7 positive and 3 negative respiratory swab samples provided by Zhejiang Provincial Center for Disease Control and Prevention, our detection results had 100% positive agreement and 100% negative agreement, which demonstrated the accuracy and application prospect of this method.

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