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Indian scientists develop better technique to detect Covid-19

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Indian Scientists develop new technology platform to detect SARS-CoV-2 by fluorescence readout.

A team of Indian scientists has developed a new technology platform for fluorometric detection of SARS-CoV-2 (Covid-19) that is more reliable than the existing techniques, according to information provided by the Ministry of Science and Technology. 

The technology platform detects viruses by measuring the fluorescent light that is emitted and can also be used to detect other DNA/RNA pathogens such as HIV, influenza, HCV, Zika, Ebola, bacteria, and other mutating pathogens.

Scientists from Jawaharlal Nehru Centre for Advanced Scientific Research, an autonomous institute of the government, along with scientists from IISc (India Institute of Science), have demonstrated a noncanonical nucleic acid-based G-quadruplex (GQ) topology targeted reliable conformational polymorphism (GQ-RCP) platform to diagnose Covid-19 clinical samples.

This work has been published recently in the journal ‘ACS Sensors’ and the team has also filed a patent for the novel technology.

The platform lays greater emphasis on deciphering and systematic characterization of a unique set of interactions in nucleic acids to attain stable and reliable noncanonical DNA/RNA targets.

RT-q-PCR has been the gold standard for accurate detection of Covid-19. Among the recent innovations on nucleic acid-targeted diagnosis of Covid-19, the techniques such as RT RPA and RT-LAMP use general-purpose DNA sensing probes. This increases the propensity of false-positive results arising out of unbiased detection of nonspecific amplification products.

Recognizing unique DNA secondary conformations can be a promising solution to achieve reliable readouts. The team has identified and characterized a unique G-quadruplex-based target derived from the 30 kb (kilobytes) genomic landscape for specific detection of SARS-CoV-2.

Unlike the other reliable diagnostic assays where the existing fundamental concepts have been repurposed, this work presents a completely novel strategy to target a unique, unconventional structure specific to Covid-19 the sequence using small molecule fluorophores (microscopic molecules).

Publication link:  https://doi.org/10.1021/acssensors.1c02113

For more details, please contact T Govindaraju (tgraju@jncasr.ac.in, tgraju.jnc@gmail.com).