Turning up the heat to unlock Cas13's potential

29 June, 2022

A protein from a heat-loving bacterium allows specific detection of SARS-CoV-2 and other viruses in a one-pot assay based on RT-LAMP technology. Such a test could simplify point-of-care diagnoses of COVID-19 and other infections.

RT-LAMP tests are similar to PCR tests: they detect tiny amounts of viral genetic material in a sample by amplifying it to detectable amounts. One advantage of an RT-test over PCR tests is that it is performed at a single temperature (55-65 degrees Celsius) instead of repeated cycling through different temperatures. This makes it quicker and easier to use. Its disadvantage, however, is that it is not as accurate as PCR as it can produce false positive results.

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Image: A CRISPR-Cas system that could be used with RT-LAMP has been developed to specifically detect target genetic material in a one-pot assay without the need for new reagents.
© 2022 KAUST; Anastasia Serin