ICGEB Cape Town COVID-19 diagnostic testing activities

With the support of New England Biolabs, the ICGEB Cape Town Component received SARS-CoV-2 Rapid Colorimetric LAMP assay kits.

ICGEB Cape Town Cancer Genomics and Virology – Emerging Viruses Research Groups are currently testing the LAMP assay for COVID diagnostic testing in low resource settings. Current biological samples have been obtained from patients in the Cape Town metropolitan area.

The LAMP assay is a colorimetric assay to detect the presence of SARS-CoV-2 RNA in biological samples (nasopharyngeal swab). It relies on Loop-mediated isothermal amplification that is performed in a water bath at 65°C. As this is a colorimetric test, the result can be evaluated by sight.

The images show a negative and positive SARS-COV-2 colorimetric test. One can see that the NTC (Negative Control) for both remain pink, indicating no reaction. The PC (positive control) and IC (Internal Control) are yellow, indicating a pH change that was the result of amplification of the control RNA and actin RNA respectively. In the negative test, the test reaction remains pink, thus SARS-CoV-2 RNA was absent and no amplification occurred.  In the positive test, the test reaction is yellow, thus indicating the presence of the SARS-CoV-2 RNA.

This assay has great potential in low resource settings, as it does not require expensive equipment nor expertise to perform, and could therefore prove to be a good diagnostic solution.

Read more on this collaboration: https://www.icgeb.org/gates-foundation-to-fund-icgeb-collaboration-with-new-england-biolabs/