SEP 02, 2020 11:45 AM SGT

Rapid and Accurate Detection of Novel Coronavirus SARS-Cov-2 Using Crispr-Cas3



Novel coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 outbreaks have rapidly spread to multiple countries, highlighting the urgent necessity for fast, sensitive, and specific diagnostic tools for virus surveillance. We have previously demonstrated that Class 1 type I CRISPR, which is composed of Escherichia coli Cascade, Cas3, and programmable pre-crRNA, mediates distinct DNA cleavage activity in human cells. Here, the previously unknown collateral single-stranded DNA cleavage we observed with type I CRISPR-Cas3 highlights its potential for development as a Cas3-mediated rapid (within 40 min), low-cost, instrument-free detection method for SARS-CoV-2. This Cas3-based assay is comparable with Cas12- and real-time reverse-transcriptase PCR-based assays in its speed and sensitivity, but offers greater specificity for single-base-pair discrimination while negating the need for highly trained operators. These findings support the use of CRISPR diagnostics for point-of-care testing in patients with suspected SARS-CoV-2 infections.

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