Rapid molecular diagnostics of COVID-19 by RT-LAMP in a centrifugal polystyrene-toner based microdevice with end-point visual detection†
Infection caused by the new coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) has become a serious worldwide public health problem, and one of the most important strategies for its control is mass testing. Loop-mediated isothermal amplification (LAMP) has emerged as an important alternative to simplify the diagnostics of infectious diseases. In addition, an advantage of LAMP is that it allows for easy reading of the final result through visual detection. However, this step must be performed with caution to avoid contamination and false-positive results. LAMP performed on microfluidic platforms can minimize false-positive results, in addition to having potential for point-of-care applications. Here, we describe a polystyrene-toner (PS-T) centrifugal microfluidic device manually controlled by a fidget spinner for molecular diagnosis of COVID-19 by RT-LAMP, with integrated and automated colorimetric detection. The amplification was carried out in a microchamber with 5 μL capacity, and the reaction was thermally controlled with a thermoblock at 72 °C for 10 min. At the end of the incubation time, the detection of amplified RT-LAMP fragments was performed directly on the chip by automated visual detection. Our results demonstrate that it is possible to detect COVID-19 in reactions initiated with approximately 10−3 copies of SARS-CoV-2 RNA. Clinical samples were tested using our RT-LAMP protocol as well as by conventional RT-qPCR, demonstrating comparable performance to the CDC SARS-CoV-2 RT-qPCR assay. The methodology described in this study represents a simple, rapid, and accurate method for rapid molecular diagnostics of COVID-19 in a disposable microdevice, ideal for point-of-care testing (POCT) systems.