Evaluation of SYBR Green real time PCR for detecting SARS-CoV-2 from clinical samples

Marianoel Pereira-Gómez, Álvaro Fajardo, Natalia Echeverría, Fernando López-Tort, Paula Perbolianachis, Alicia Costábile, Fabián Aldunate, Pilar Moreno, Gonzalo Moratorio

10.1016/j.jviromet.2020.114035 04/12/2020

PMID: PMC7831559


The pandemic caused by SARS-CoV-2 has triggered an extraordinary collapse of healthcare systems and hundred thousand of deaths worldwide. Following the declaration of the outbreak as a Public Health Emergency of International Concern by the World Health Organization (WHO) on January 30th, 2020, it has become imperative to develop diagnostic tools to reliably detect the virus in infected patients. Several methods based on real time reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-qPCR) for the detection of SARS-CoV-2 genomic RNA have been developed. In addition, these methods have been recommended by the WHO for laboratory diagnosis. Since most of these protocols are based on the use of fluorogenic probes and one-step reagents (cDNA synthesis followed by PCR amplification in the same tube), these techniques can be difficult to perform given the limited supply of reagents in low- and middle-income countries. In order to develop an inexpensive SARS-CoV-2 detection protocol using available resources we evaluated the SYBR Green based detection of SARS-CoV-2 to establish a suitable assay. To do so, we adapted one of the WHO recommended TaqMan-based one-step real time PCR protocols (from the University of Hong Kong) to SYBR Green. Our results indicate that SYBR-Green detection of ORF1b-nsp14 target represents a reliable cost-effective alternative to increase the testing capacity.

Keywords: Molecular detection; RT-qPCR; SARS-CoV-2; SYBR Green.