Equipment-free detection of SARS-CoV-2 and Variants of Concern using Cas13.
The COVID-19 pandemic, and the recent rise and widespread transmission of SARS-CoV-2 Variants of Concern (VOCs), have demonstrated the need for ubiquitous nucleic acid testing outside of centralized clinical laboratories. Here, we develop SHINEv2, a Cas13-based nucleic acid diagnostic that combines quick and ambient temperature sample processing and lyophilized reagents to greatly simplify the test procedure and assay distribution. We benchmarked a SHINEv2 assay for SARS-CoV-2 detection against state-of-the-art antigen-capture tests using 96 patient samples, demonstrating 50-fold greater sensitivity and 100% specificity. We designed SHINEv2 assays for discriminating the Alpha, Beta, Gamma and Delta VOCs, which can be read out visually using lateral flow technology. We further demonstrate that our assays can be performed without any equipment in less than 90 minutes. SHINEv2 represents an important advance towards rapid nucleic acid tests that can be performed in any location.