Thermal inactivation of COVID-19 specimens improves RNA quality and quantity.

Hemati M, Soosanabadi M, Ghorashi T, Ghaffari H, Vahedi A, Sabbaghian E, Rasouli Nejad Z, Salati A, Danaei N, Kokhaei P

J Cell Physiol - (-) - [2020-12-11; online 2020-12-11]

The rapid spread of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), a disease caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2, poses a huge demand for immediate diagnosis. Real-time reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction (rRT-PCR) of nasopharyngeal (NP) and oropharyngeal (OP) swabs have been used to confirm the clinical diagnosis. To avoid the risk of viral-exposure of laboratory workers, thermal inactivation is currently recommended but has unknown effects on the accuracy of the rRT-PCR results. Thirty-six NP/OP specimens were collected from COVID-19 patients and subjected to thermal inactivation (60°C for 30 min) or the RNA extraction processes to activate the form. Here, our data showed that the concentration of extracted-RNA increases upon thermal inactivation compared to the active form (p = .028). Significantly higher levels of RNA copy number were obtained in inactivated compared to the active samples for both N and ORF1ab genes (p = .009, p = .032, respectively). Thermal inactivation elevated concentration and copy number of extracted-RNA, possibly through viral-capsid degradation and/or nucleoprotein denaturation.

Category: Genomics & transcriptomics

Type: Journal article

PubMed 33305832

DOI 10.1002/jcp.30206

Crossref 10.1002/jcp.30206

NA: All data is included in the paper


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