Rapid detection of SARS-CoV-2 viral nucleic acids based on surface enhanced infrared absorption spectroscopy†
Efficient point-of-care diagnosis of severe acute respiratory syndrome-corovavirus-2 (SARS-CoV-2) is crucial for the early control of novel coronavirus infections. At present, polymerase chain reaction (PCR) is primarily used to detect SARS-CoV-2. Despite the high sensitivity, the PCR process is time-consuming and complex which limits its applicability for rapid testing of large-scale outbreaks. Here, we propose a rapid and easy-to-implement approach for SARS-CoV-2 detection based on surface enhanced infrared absorption (SEIRA) spectroscopy. The evaporated gold nano-island films are used as SEIRA substrates which are functionalized with the single-stranded DNA probes for specific binding to selected SARS-CoV-2 genomic sequences. The infrared absorption spectra are analyzed using the principal component analysis method to identify the key characteristic differences between infected and control samples. The SEIRA-based biosensor demonstrates rapid detection of SARS-CoV-2, completing the detection of 1 μM viral nucleic acids within less than 5 min without any amplification. When combined with the recombinase polymerase amplification treatment, the detection capability of 2.98 copies per μL (5 aM) can be completed within 30 min. This approach provides a simple and economical alternative for COVID-19 diagnosis, which can be potentially useful in monitoring and controlling future pandemics in a timely manner.