The consortium of the anti-corona project CoSE Jump Start, consisting of partners from applied science and industry, is developing a cost-effective, widely applicable rapid test for SARS-CoV-2 for in-house use through to market maturity.
Thus, the aim of the project is to make SARS-CoV-2 diagnostics possible, especially for countries in which the opportunities and capacities for PCR laboratory tests are currently limited, for example in third world countries. For this purpose, the consortium has designed a method that takes up the principle of antibody-based rapid tests – such as the pregnancy test – but is based on the highly specific detection of viral RNA.
The rapid test is comparable to PCR-based detection but without amplification of the viral RNA. It is based on the detection of SARS-CoV-2 RNA using the binding of a variety of modified DNA probes in combination with an antibody-coupled enzymatic color reaction. The strip test is designed for self-administration and can be performed without the involvement of medically trained personnel or a laboratory environment.
Up to now, a one-step sample preparation consisting of viral RNA digestion and hybridization with ssDNA has been established. Further, various suitable hybridization probes for the detection of viral RNA have been identified and tested for their suitability. Merging these results, first test strips have been constructed and their functionality demonstrated.
The work on the development of the rapid test was initiated within the framework of the CoSE Jump Start project funded by the Fraunhofer action program "Fraunhofer vs. Corona" and has been continued within the BMBF-funded CoSE project focusing on the implementation of the rapid test for SARS-CoV-2 detection.