Comparative Analysis of Primer-Probe Sets for RT-qPCR of COVID-19 Causative Virus (SARS-CoV-2).ACS Infect Dis. 2020 09 11; 6(9):2513-2523.AI
Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is a newly emerging human infectious disease caused by Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2, also previously known as 2019-nCoV). Within 8 months of the outbreak, more than 10,000,000 cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed worldwide. Since human-to-human transmission occurs easily and the rate of human infection is rapidly increasing, sensitive and early diagnosis is essential to prevent a global outbreak. Recently, the World Health Organization (WHO) announced various primer-probe sets for SARS-CoV-2 developed at different institutions: China Center for Disease Control and Prevention (China CDC, China), Charité (Germany), The University of Hong Kong (HKU, Hong Kong), National Institute of Infectious Diseases in Japan (Japan NIID, Japan), National Institute of Health in Thailand (Thailand NIH, Thailand), and US CDC (USA). In this study, we compared the ability to detect SARS-CoV-2 RNA among seven primer-probe sets for the N gene and three primer-probe sets for the Orf1 gene. The results revealed that "NIID_2019-nCOV_N" from the Japan NIID and "ORF1ab" from China CDC represent a recommendable performance of RT-qPCR analysis for SARS-CoV-2 molecular diagnostics without nonspecific amplification and cross-reactivity for hCoV-229E, hCoV-OC43, and MERS-CoV RNA. Therefore, the appropriate combination of NIID_2019-nCOV_N (Japan NIID) and ORF1ab (China CDC) sets should be selected for sensitive and reliable SARS-CoV-2 molecular diagnostics.