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Aptameter based assay for coronavirus detection

Date: 15 July 2020 Tags: Biotechnology


Researchers from the Faridabad-based Translational Health Science and Technology Institute (THSTI) have developed an Aptamer-linked immobilised sorbent assay (ALISA) based detection assay for novel coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) using DNA aptamers.



DNA aptamers are small, single-strand structured DNA molecules that bind to a specific target with high affinity and specificity. 



  • The aptamer binds to the full-length spike protein of the virus, which plays a crucial role in binding to the receptors found on human cells, and gains entry into the cells.

  • The assay was tested using 250 nasopharyngeal swab samples, and the assay has 90% sensitivity and 99% specificity.

  • After extensive screening and optimisation, researchers developed two aptamers, and the performance of both aptamers is comparable in terms of sensitivity and specificity.

  • In one, the aptamer has 75 DNA nucleotide bases, while the other has only 44 DNA nucleotide bases.

  • The nucleotide bases in the aptamer bind to the spike protein (antigen) and help in the detection of positive samples.

  • Since the aptamers are synthetic molecules, it will be easy to scale-up production and there will be very little variation from one batch to another.

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