(19)
(11)EP 4 056 719 A1

(12)EUROPEAN PATENT APPLICATION

(43)Date of publication:
14.09.2022 Bulletin 2022/37

(21)Application number: 22162324.2

(22)Date of filing:  18.02.2021
(51)International Patent Classification (IPC): 
C12Q 1/70(2006.01)
(52)Cooperative Patent Classification (CPC):
C12Q 1/701; C12Q 2600/16
(84)Designated Contracting States:
AL AT BE BG CH CY CZ DE DK EE ES FI FR GB GR HR HU IE IS IT LI LT LU LV MC MK MT NL NO PL PT RO RS SE SI SK SM TR
Designated Extension States:
BA ME
Designated Validation States:
KH MA MD TN

(30)Priority: 18.02.2020 US 202062978274 P
26.02.2020 US 202062981938 P
25.06.2020 US 202063044160 P
15.07.2020 US 202063052385 P
30.07.2020 US 202062706081 P
30.09.2020 US 202063198134 P
16.10.2020 US 202063198421 P
04.12.2020 US 202063199076 P
08.01.2021 US 202163199570 P

(62)Application number of the earlier application in accordance with Art. 76 EPC:
21719513.0 / 3911769

(71)Applicant: Life Technologies Corporation
Carlsbad, CA 92008 (US)

(72)Inventors:
  • LI, Kelly
    Carlsbad, CA 92008 (US)
  • PAGANI, Ioanna
    Carlsbad, CA 92008 (US)
  • BRZOSKA, Pius
    Carlsbad, CA 92008 (US)
  • LI, Jisheng
    Carlsbad, CA 92008 (US)
  • WANG, Chunling
    Carlsbad, CA 92008 (US)
  • HAYASHIBARA, Kathleen
    Carlsbad, CA 92008 (US)
  • TANNER, Michael
    Carlsbad, CA 92008 (US)
  • JI, Hong
    Carlsbad, CA 92008 (US)
  • VARMA, Kamini
    Carlsbad, CA 92008 (US)
  • HU, Fangqi
    Carlsbad, CA 92008 (US)
  • TEBBS, Robert
    Carlsbad, CA 92008 (US)

(74)Representative: J A Kemp LLP 
80 Turnmill Street
London EC1M 5QU
London EC1M 5QU (GB)

 
Remarks:
The complete document including Reference Tables and the Sequence Listing can be downloaded from the EPO website
Remarks:
This application was filed on 15.03.2022 as a divisional application to the application mentioned under INID code 62.
 


(54)COMPOSITIONS, KITS AND METHODS FOR DETECTION OF VIRAL SEQUENCES


(57) Compositions, assays, methods, diagnostic methods, kits, and diagnostic kits are disclosed for the specific and differential detection of SARS-CoV-2 and/or other viruses from samples, including veterinary samples, clinical samples, food samples, forensic sample, environmental samples (e.g., obtained from soil, garbage, sewage, air, water, food processing and manufacturing surfaces, or likewise), or biological sample obtained from a human or non-human animal.







Description

CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS



[0001] This application claims priority to and the benefit of United States Provisional Patent Application Serial No. 63/199,570, filed January 8, 2021 and titled "COMPOSITIONS, KITS AND METHODS FOR DETECTION OF VIRAL SEQUENCES"; United States Provisional Patent Application Serial No. 63/199,076, filed December 4, 2020 and titled "COMPOSITIONS, KITS AND METHODS FOR DETECTION OF VIRAL SEQUENCES"; United States Provisional Patent Application Serial No. 63/198,421, filed October 16, 2020 and titled "COMPOSITIONS, KITS AND METHODS FOR DETECTION OF VIRAL SEQUENCES"; United States Provisional Patent Application Serial No. 63/198,134, filed September 30, 2020 and titled "COMPOSITIONS, KITS AND METHODS FOR DETECTION OF VIRAL SEQUENCES"; United States Provisional Patent Application Serial No. 62/706,081, filed July 30, 2020 and titled "COMPOSITIONS, KITS AND METHODS FOR DETECTION OF VIRAL SEQUENCES"; United States Provisional Patent Application Serial No. 63/052,385, filed July 15, 2020 and titled "COMPOSITIONS, KITS AND METHODS FOR DETECTION OF VIRAL SEQUENCES"; United States Provisional Patent Application Serial No. 63/044,160, filed June 25, 2020 and titled "COMPOSITIONS, KITS AND METHODS FOR DETECTION OF VIRAL SEQUENCES"; United States Provisional Patent Application Serial No. 62/981,938, filed February 26, 2020 and titled "COMPOSITIONS, KITS AND METHODS FOR DETECTION OF VIRAL SEQUENCES"; and United States Provisional Patent Application Serial No. 62/978,274, filed February 18, 2020 and titled "COMPOSITIONS, KITS AND METHODS FOR DETECTION OF VIRAL SEQUENCES." Each of the foregoing applications are incorporated herein by this reference in their entirety.

SEQUENCE LISTING



[0002] The instant application contains a Sequence Listing which has been submitted electronically in ASCII format and is hereby incorporated by reference in its entirety. Said ASCII copy, created on January 15, 2021, is named LT01529PCT SL.txt and is 665,718 bytes in size.

FIELD



[0003] The present teachings relate to compositions, methods, systems and kits for specific detection, diagnosis and differentiation of viruses involved in infectious diseases. Differential detection of specific viral agents allows accurate diagnosis so that appropriate treatment and infection control measures can be provided in a timely manner.

BACKGROUND



[0004] Infectious diseases are caused by pathogenic microbes or infectious agents (e.g., viruses). Early and accurate diagnosis of infectious disease is important for several reasons. For example, proper diagnosis can lead to earlier, more effective treatment which improves outcomes for the infected individual. On the other hand, individuals who are undiagnosed or misdiagnosed may unknowingly transmit diseases to others. Accurate diagnoses also help ensure proper treatments are applied, particularly with respect to certain disease categories with multiple pathogenic causes and similar symptom profiles, such as respiratory diseases.

[0005] One example of a problematic virus associated with infectious diseases are coronaviruses. Coronaviruses are a family of viruses having a positive-sense single stranded RNA genome of about 30 kilobases in length. Human coronaviruses were first identified in the mid 1960's as being one of the many etiologic agents of the common cold. People around the world commonly get infected with human coronavirus strains 229E (an alpha coronavirus), NL63 (an alpha coronavirus), OC43 (a beta coronavirus), and HKU1 (a beta coronavirus). These infections present with mild clinical symptoms and are associated with an extremely low mortality rate.

[0006] Some coronaviruses infect non-human animals where they can evolve and undergo zoonosis, expanding their tropism to humans. Such crossover events have proven devastating in years past. For example, the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) was caused by MERS-CoV, a beta coronavirus that crossed over from dromedary camels to humans. MERS-CoV was associated with a high mortality rate of approximately 35%, but its low transmissibility rate helped to limit its spread and potential for devastation. As another example, Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS), which was caused by SARS-CoV, another beta coronavirus, was believed to have been transmitted from bats to civet cats who then transmitted the virus to humans. Although not as deadly as MERS-CoV, SARS-CoV was nevertheless associated with a moderately high mortality rate of approximately 9.6%. Likely due, at least in part, to the lifecycle of SARS-CoV within humans, the spread of this virus was limited mostly to southeast Asian countries. Human infected with SARS-CoV often became symptomatic prior to shedding infectious virions, making quarantining a particularly useful tool for limiting exposure and spread of the infection.

[0007] More recently, a new variant beta coronavirus, SARS-CoV-2 (also known as 2019-nCoV), has emerged, potentially from a crossover event between pangolins and humans in Wuhan, China. While the epidemiological data are incomplete, reports so far indicate that over 85 million people worldwide are believed to have already been infected by SARS-CoV-2. However, unlike MERS-CoV and SARS-CoV before it, SARS-CoV-2 appears to be significantly less lethal on average with a mortality rate of about 2.3%. Due to its increased transmissibility, the seemingly small percentage of deaths associated with SARS-CoV-2 belies its worldwide impact, having caused an estimated 1.9 million deaths in the worldwide pandemic at the time of this filing, and currently continuing to grow. The raw number of humans impacted by SARS-CoV-2 dwarfs the total number of deaths caused by MERS-CoV and SARS-CoV combined-reportedly around 1,600.

[0008] Given the present and continuing emergence of new coronavirus strains, there is an urgent need to develop methods for the rapid detection and characterization of existing and novel coronavirus strains so that appropriate treatment and infection control measures can be properly instituted in a timely manner. Problematically, many of the SARS-CoV-2 detection assays are non-specific with respect to detecting and differentiating SARS-CoV-2 from other respiratory pathogens, particularly other coronaviruses, which has led to a lack of patient confidence in the diagnostic potential of current SARS-CoV-2 detection assays. Further, because individuals infected with SARS-CoV-2 often experience symptoms similar to those infected with Influenza Types A or B (Flu A or Flu B) and/or Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV), there is an additional need to be able to simultaneously test for each of these respiratory viruses in order to provide an accurate diagnosis before seeking/providing treatment and/or confining the individual to a quarantined area under the potentially mistaken belief that they are infected with SARS-CoV-2. Each misidentified or misdiagnosed instance of SARS-CoV-2 infection further convolutes the epidemiological data and prevents the implementation of appropriate, informed solutions.

[0009] Accordingly, there are a number of disadvantages with current methods, systems, compositions, and kits for detecting existing and novel coronavirus strains among other common respiratory tract viral pathogens, which can be addressed, and the methods, systems, compositions, and kits of the present disclosure address and overcome at least some of the foregoing problems in the art.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS



[0010] In order to describe the manner in which the above recited and other advantages and features of the disclosure can be obtained, a more particular description of the disclosure briefly described above will be rendered by reference to specific embodiments thereof, which are illustrated in the appended drawings. It is appreciated that these drawings depict only typical embodiments of the disclosure and are not therefore to be considered to be limiting of its scope.

[0011] The disclosure will be described and explained with additional specificity and detail through the use of the accompanying drawings in which:

FIG. 1A illustrates the sequence identity between the consensus SARS-CoV-2 sequence and three closely related coronaviruses, namely, Bat-SL-CoVZC45, Bat-SL-CoVZXC21, and SARS-CoVGZ02, across the complete genome and across specific gene regions within the coronavirus genome.

FIG. 1B illustrates the tabular information of FIG. 1A in graphical form with the x-axis being the base pair position within the viral genome and the y-axis being the percent similarity of each related virus to the corresponding SARS-CoV-2 consensus sequence.

FIG. 2A illustrates the amplification plot of an ORFlab singleplex qPCR assay performed on an exemplary sample containing SARS-CoV-2 nucleic acid, the reagents for the qPCR assay being part of a kit for the detection of SARS-CoV-2 disclosed herein.

FIG. 2B illustrates the standard curve for the singleplex qPCR assay of FIG. 2A.

FIG. 2C illustrates the amplification plot of an N protein singleplex qPCR assay performed on an exemplary sample containing SARS-CoV-2 nucleic acid, the reagents for the qPCR assay being part of a kit for the detection of SARS-CoV-2 disclosed herein.

FIG. 2D illustrates the standard curve for the singleplex qPCR assay of FIG. 2C.

FIG. 2E illustrates the amplification plot of an S protein singleplex qPCR assay performed on an exemplary sample containing SARS-CoV-2 nucleic acid, the reagents for the qPCR assay being part of a kit for the detection of SARS-CoV-2 disclosed herein.

FIG. 2F illustrates the standard curve for the singleplex qPCR assay of FIG. 2E.

FIGs. 3A-3C illustrate comparative amplification plots of ORFlab (FIG. 3A), N protein (FIG. 3B), and S protein (FIG. 3C) qPCR assays performed on a 7500 Fast Dx instrument (Thermo Fisher Scientific) running the 7500 Standard Protocol or the 7500 Fast Protocol.

FIGs. 4A-4C illustrate comparative amplification plots of ORFlab (FIG. 4A), N protein (FIG. 4B), and S protein (FIG. 4C) qPCR assays generated when running identical standard protocols on a 7500 Fast Dx instrument (Thermo Fisher Scientific) or a QuantStudio 5 Real-Time PCR System (Thermo Fisher Scientific).

FIGs. 5A-5C illustrate comparative amplification plots of ORFlab (FIG. 5A), N protein (FIG. 5B), and S protein (FIG. 5C) qPCR assays using the TaqPath 1-Step RT-qPCR Master Mix (Thermo Fisher Scientific) or the TaqMan Fast Virus 1-Step Master Mix (Thermo Fisher Scientific) on the QuantStudio 5 Real-Time PCR System (Thermo Fisher Scientific).


DETAILED DESCRIPTION



[0012] Before describing various embodiments of the present disclosure in detail, it is to be understood that this disclosure is not limited to the parameters of the particularly exemplified systems, methods, apparatus, products, processes, and/or kits, which may, of course, vary. Thus, while certain embodiments of the present disclosure will be described in detail, with reference to specific configurations, parameters, components, elements, etc., the descriptions are illustrative and are not to be construed as limiting the scope of the claimed invention. In addition, the terminology used herein is for the purpose of describing the embodiments and is not necessarily intended to limit the scope of the claimed invention.

[0013] Furthermore, it is understood that for any given component or embodiment described herein, any of the possible candidates or alternatives listed for that component may generally be used individually or in combination with one another, unless implicitly or explicitly understood or stated otherwise. Additionally, it will be understood that any list of such candidates or alternatives is merely illustrative, not limiting, unless implicitly or explicitly understood or stated otherwise.

[0014] In addition, unless otherwise indicated, numbers expressing quantities, constituents, distances, or other measurements used in the specification and claims are to be understood as being modified by the term "about," as that term is defined herein. Accordingly, unless indicated to the contrary, the numerical parameters set forth in the specification and attached claims are approximations that may vary depending upon the desired properties sought to be obtained by the subject matter presented herein. At the very least, and not as an attempt to limit the application of the doctrine of equivalents to the scope of the claims, each numerical parameter should at least be construed in light of the number of reported significant digits and by applying ordinary rounding techniques. Notwithstanding that the numerical ranges and parameters setting forth the broad scope of the subject matter presented herein are approximations, the numerical values set forth in the specific examples are reported as precisely as possible. Any numerical values, however, inherently contain certain errors necessarily resulting from the standard deviation found in their respective testing measurements.

[0015] All publications and patent applications cited herein, as well as the Appendices attached hereto, are incorporated by reference in their entirety for all purposes to the same extent as if each were specifically and individually indicated to be so incorporated by reference. Although the present invention has been described in some detail by way of illustration and example for purposes of clarity and understanding, it will be apparent that certain changes and modifications may be practiced within the scope of the spirit and substance of this disclosure and of the appended claims.

[0016] Any headings and subheadings used herein are for organizational purposes only and are not meant to be used to limit the scope of the description or the claims.

Overview of Compositions, Systems, and Kits for Detection of Target Sequences



[0017] As discussed above, a new variant beta coronavirus, SARS-CoV-2 (also known as 2019-nCoV), has recently emerged as the newest pandemic virus. Current epidemiological data is potentially disadvantaged in view of existing non-specific detection assays used to identify SARS-CoV-2 infections. The lack of a reliable assay for accurately and specifically identifying SARS-CoV-2 from a sample (e.g., a clinical sample obtained from nasopharyngeal swab, nasopharyngeal aspirate, bronchoalveolar lavage, buccal swab, saliva, or urine) and/or differentiating this virus from other common respiratory pathogens may prevent healthcare professionals from properly treating and advising patients. Further, by not being able to accurately and quickly identify individuals infected with SARS-CoV-2, it can be quite difficult to establish a systematic treatment campaign or implement successful preventative measures.

[0018] Given the present and continuing emergence of new coronavirus strains, there is an urgent need to develop methods for the rapid detection and characterization of existing and novel coronavirus strains so that appropriate treatment and infection control measures can be properly instituted in a timely manner. Problematically, many of the available SARS-CoV-2 detection assays are non-specific with respect to detecting and differentiating SARS-CoV-2 from other respiratory pathogens, particularly other coronaviruses, which has potential to lead to a lack of patient confidence in the diagnostic potential of current SARS-CoV-2 detection assays. Further, because individuals infected with SARS-CoV-2 often experience symptoms similar to those infected with Influenza Types A or B and/or Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV), and/or other respiratory microbes, there is an additional need to be able to simultaneously test for each of these respiratory infectious agents in order to provide an accurate diagnosis before seeking/providing treatment and/or confining the individual to a quarantined area under the potentially mistaken belief that they are infected with SARS-CoV-2. Each misidentified or misdiagnosed instance of SARS-CoV-2 infection can further convolute the epidemiological data and prevent the implementation of appropriate, informed solutions that may help reign in the pandemic.

[0019] A number of assays are available for allegedly detecting the presence of SARS-CoV-2, such as those provided by the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (US-CDC) that contain probes targeting the N protein, the assay developed by the Chinese CDC targeting the coding regions of the N protein and the ORFlab protein, and the WHO kit targeting the coding regions of the N protein, the E protein, and the closely related RdRp SARS/Wuhan coronavirus. While each of the foregoing assays have 100% coverage of all published SARS-CoV-2 genomes to date-meaning these assays are each theoretically capable of identifying the presence of SARS-CoV-2 from a nucleic acid sample-the design of these assays is such that the detection is non-specific, which can perpetuate the issues discussed above instead of alleviating them.

[0020] For example, the probes used in the WHO kit for the E and N proteins map perfectly to hundreds of non-SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus strains. Furthermore, the confirmatory probe identifying RdRp-SARS/Wuhan was designed to detect both SARS and SARS-CoV-2, making it non-specific by design. These assays lack endogenous controls as well. In total, this assay is non-specific for SARS-CoV-2 and is prone to providing false positive results. Similarly, the US-CDC kit for detecting SARS-CoV-2 has also exhibited some non-specificity. It relies on three separate probes to the coding region of the N protein, and two of these probes can generate a false positive signal in the presence of non-SARS-CoV-2 coronaviruses, such as many SARS strains and even the bat-SARS-CoV strain, particularly when present in higher concentrations. Accordingly, even this kit fails to provide an assay having the desired SARS-CoV-2 specificity, and there remains an unmet need in the market for a SARS-CoV-2 detection assay that is accurate and specific and that, preferably, can be implemented quickly with a short turnaround time between obtaining the sample and receiving the results.

[0021] Disclosed herein are compositions, kits, and methods for specifically detecting viral sequences, in particular SARS-CoV-2. Additional compositions, kits, and methods are disclosed that enable the detection and differentiation of SARS-CoV-2 from other related coronaviruses, from respiratory tract microbiota, and from common respiratory pathogens that produce similar symptomatic infections in humans, including Influenza Type A (Flu A), Influenza Type B (Flu B), and Respiratory Syncytial Virus (e.g., RSV A and RSV B). As demonstrated throughout the present description, many of the probes disclosed herein include nucleic acid binding portions that exhibit 100% identity (i.e., no mismatches) to all 52 genomic sequences of SARS-CoV-2 reported in the literature. Further, the kits and methods provided herein specifically target all 71 complete genomes currently available at GISAID, and do not target any of the 2,116 complete genomes of other coronaviruses currently available at NCBI, underscoring the beneficial specificity of the disclosed methods and kits for detecting SARS-CoV-2. Indeed, the disclosed embodiments solve at least some of the unmet needs in the field of viral identification and provide meaningful improvements over prior viral detection compositions, kits, and methods.

[0022] In some embodiments, the strain coverage for the compositions, kits, and methods described herein for detecting SARS-CoV-2, including those with primers and probes selected from SEQ ID NO:4 - SEQ ID NO:2533, is 99.9% based on an in silico analysis of 35,833 high quality complete sequences available from GISAID as of July 6, 2020. Additionally, the compositions, kits, and methods disclosed herein for the detection of viral sequences, particularly those multiplex assays for identifying the specific presence of SARS-CoV-2, Flu A, Flu B, RSV A, and/or RSV B using primers and probes selected from SEQ ID NO:4 - SEQ ID NO:2533, retain the 99.9% specificity and precision for identifying SARS-CoV-2 strains, and the strain coverage is 98.2% (6730/6854) for Flu A and 99.3% (3105/3127) for Flu B, based on data available from NCBI as of April 13, 2020.

[0023] SEQ ID NO:4 - SEQ ID NO:257 includes a list of sequences which are amenable for use as forward primers targeting the ORFlab, S protein, or N protein coding regions of the SARS-CoV-2 genome, regions of the human influenza (Flu) type A or type B viral genome, regions of the Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV) type A or type B viral genome, or control sequences, such as MS2 Phage and RNase P.

[0024] SEQ ID NO:267 - SEQ ID NO:510 includes a list of sequences which are amenable for use as reverse primers targeting the ORFlab, S protein, or N protein coding regions of the SARS-CoV-2 genome, regions of the human influenza (Flu) type A or type B viral genome, regions of the Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV) type A or type B viral genome, or control sequences, such as MS2 Phage and RNase P.

[0025] SEQ ID NO:520 - SEQ ID NO:2533 includes a list of sequences which are nucleic acid portions of probes targeting the ORF1ab, S protein, or N protein coding regions of the SARS-CoV-2 genome, regions of the human influenza (Flu) type A or type B viral genome, regions of the Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV) type A or type B viral genome, or control sequences, such as MS2 Phage and RNase P.

[0026] Further, because SARS-CoV-2 is an RNA virus, it can mutate with relatively high frequency, making it difficult to consistently detect over time. Specific detection can be ensured even in the case of future variants by using multiple assays targeting different regions of the same target genes to ensure redundancy and specificity. Unlike other published assay designs, which require multiple assay designs and separate reactions for each loci to enhance specificity, the disclosed primers and probes can differentiate SARS-CoV-2 strains using a single and specific assay conducted in a single, or at the most two, reaction volumes.

[0027] The embodiments of the present disclosure beneficially provide improved compositions, kits, and methods for detecting and differentiating viral respiratory tract pathogens that share similar symptomatic presentations in humans. As such, these disclosed embodiments advantageously improve the efficiency and accuracy of evaluating respiratory samples (e.g., in a laboratory setting, at point of sale location, and/or at point of care location) for the presence of viral sequences and can improve the diagnosis and treatment of affected individuals.

[0028] The disclosed compositions, kits, and methods for the detection of viral sequences can also improve the accuracy of epidemiological studies related to SARS-CoV-2, Flu A, Flu B, and/or RSV infections. Additional embodiments disclosed herein include assay panels (e.g. in the format of an array card) for determining the presence of viral, bacterial, and fungal nucleic acid sequences that can, among other things, improve syndromic evaluations and epidemiological studies by being able to detect and differentiate SARS-CoV-2 from related coronaviruses, influenza viruses, rhinoviruses, adenoviruses, and other viral, bacterial, and fungal microbes.

Sample Collection



[0029] The disclosed compositions, kits, and methods are configured to detect viral nucleic acid from a sample, preferably a specific and differential detection of SARS-CoV-2 from a sample. The sample may be a veterinary sample (e.g., from non-human animals like mink), a clinical sample (e.g., from a symptomatic or asymptomatic human), a food sample, a forensic sample, an environmental sample (e.g., soil, dirt, garbage, sewage, air, or water), including food processing and manufacturing surfaces, or any other biological sample. In most instances, SARS-CoV-2 or other coronaviruses and respiratory tract pathogens are detected by analysis of swabs or fluid obtained from swabs, such as throat swabs, nasal swabs, nasopharyngeal swabs, nasal mid-turbinate swabs, oropharyngeal swabs, cheek swabs, saliva swabs, or other swabs, though it should be appreciated that SARS-CoV-2 or other coronaviruses and/or respiratory tract pathogens may also be detected by analysis of urine samples, saliva samples, or other clinical samples.

[0030] The sample can be collected by a healthcare professional in a healthcare setting, but in some instances, the sample may also be collected by the subject themselves or by an individual assisting the subject in self-collection. For example, a nasopharyngeal swab has heretofore served as the gold standard for obtaining a sample to be used in clinical diagnostics or screening. Such swabs are often used by a healthcare professional in a healthcare setting. Other samples, such as a saliva sample, can similarly be obtained in a healthcare setting with the assistance or oversight of a healthcare professional. However, in some instances, self-collection of a sample can be more efficient and can be done outside of a healthcare setting.

[0031] In some embodiments, the sample is a raw saliva sample collected-whether by self-collection or assisted/supervised collection-in a sterile tube or specifically-designed saliva collection device. The saliva collection tube/device may be a component of a self-collection kit having instructions for use, such as sample collection instructions, sample preparation or storage instructions, and/or shipping instructions. In some embodiments, the raw saliva sample can be collected directly into a sealable container without any preservation solution or other fluid or substance in the container prior to receipt of the saliva sample within the container or as a result of closing/sealing the container. In some other embodiments, the raw saliva sample is collected into a container which already contains some amount of a preservation or treatment solution or other fluid or substance.

[0032] Traditionally, a nucleic acid fraction of the sample is extracted or purified from the sample-whether obtained via swab, from raw saliva, or other bodily fluid-prior to any detection of viral nucleic acids therein. Surprisingly, the disclosed embodiments for detecting viral nucleic acid from a sample can be adapted to detect viral nucleic acid directly from a raw saliva sample without a specific nucleic acid purification and/or extraction step prior to its use in downstream detection assays (e.g., RT-qPCR). In some embodiments, the saliva sample is pre-treated prior to use (see, for example, Example 8 herein). This can include, for example, heating the saliva sample, such as by placing the raw saliva sample on a heat block/water bath set to a temperature of 95°C for 30 minutes, followed by combining the heat-treated saliva with a buffer or lysis solution. The buffer or lysis solution can include, for example, any nucleic-acid-amenable buffer such as TBE and may further include a detergent and/or emulsifier such as Triton-X-100, NP-40, or the polysorbate-type nonionic surfactant, Tween-20.

[0033] It should be appreciated that in some embodiments, the disclosed compositions can include the sample mixed with a buffer and detergent/emulsifier. The sample can be added to a buffer/detergent mixture or vice versa. As a non-limiting example, a set of subject samples can be prepared as compositions for downstream analysis and detection of viral sequence by adding a volume of heat-treated sample for each subject into one (or a plurality) of wells in a multi-well plate. A volume of a buffer/detergent mixture (e.g., TBE + Tween-20) can then be added to each well containing a subject sample. Alternatively, a multi-well plate can be loaded with a volume of a buffer/detergent mixture into which a volume of heat-treated saliva is added. Once combined, this probative template solution can be used immediately or stored for later analysis. Such probative template solutions can also be combined with PCR reagents (e.g., buffers, dNTPs, master mixes, etc.) prior to or after storage.

Compositions, Kits, and Methods for Detection of SARS-CoV-2 Viral Sequences



[0034] The primers and probes disclosed herein are useful for the detection of SARS-CoV-2 from a sample, such as a biological sample obtained from a human or non-human (e.g., mink) subject. Such primers and/or probes can be used within a kit for performing a nucleic-acid-based assay for the detection and identification of one or more target nucleic acids in the sample, which may be single stranded or double stranded of any size. For example, the primers and probes provided in SEQ ID NO:4 - SEQ ID NO:2533 can be used to amplify and/or analyze one or more specific target sequences present in the SARS-CoV-2 viral genome or within one or more of the Flu A, Flu B, RSV A, RSV B, other target respiratory microbes and/or controls (see, e.g., Tables 3A and 3B), as described herein. The amplified products ("amplicons") can be detected and/or analyzed using any suitable method and on any suitable platform.

[0035] Polymerase chain reaction (PCR) and related methods are common methods of nucleic acid amplification. PCR is one, but not the only, example of a nucleic acid polymerase reaction method for amplifying a nucleic acid test sample comprising the use of a known nucleic acid as a primer and a nucleic acid polymerase to amplify or generate a specific target nucleic acid. In general, PCR utilizes a primer pair that consists of a forward primer and a reverse primer configured to amplify a target segment of a nucleic acid template. Typically, but not always, the forward primer hybridizes to the 5' end of the target sequence and the reverse primer will be identical to a sequence present at the 3' end of the target sequence. The reverse primer will typically hybridize to a complement of the target sequence, for example an extension product of the forward primer and/or vice versa. PCR methods are typically performed at multiple different temperatures, causing repeated temperature changes during the PCR reaction ("thermal cycling"). Other amplification methods, such as, e.g., loop-mediated isothermal amplification ("LAMP"), and other isothermal methods, such as those listed in Table 1, may require less or less extensive thermal cycling than does PCR, or require no thermal cycling. Such isothermal amplification methods are also contemplated for use with the assay compositions, reaction mixtures, kits described herein.
Table 1. Summary of optional isothermal amplification methods.
NASBA Nucleic acid sequence-based amplification (NASBA) is a method used to amplify RNA.
LAMP Loop-mediated isothermal amplification (LAMP) is a single tube technique for the amplification of DNA. It typically uses 4-6 primers, which form loop structures to facilitate subsequent rounds of amplification.
HDA Helicase-dependent amplification (HDA) uses the double-stranded DNA unwinding activity of a helicase to separate strands for in vitro DNA amplification at constant temperature.
RCA Rolling circle amplification (RCA) starts from a circular DNA template and a short DNA or RNA primer to form a long single stranded molecule.
MDA Multiple displacement amplification (MDA) is a technique that initiates when multiple random primers anneal to the DNA template and the polymerase amplifies DNA at constant temperature.
WGA When MDA is used to amplify DNA from a whole genome of a cell it is called whole genome amplification (WGA). (Other methods of WGA include MALBAC, LIANTI, DOP-PCR.)
RPA Recombinase polymerase amplification (RPA) is a low temperature DNA and RNA amplification technique.


[0036] Methods of performing PCR, including those in Table 1, are well known in the art; nevertheless, further discussion of PCR and other methods may be found, for example, in Molecular Cloning: A Laboratory Manual by Green and Sambrook, Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press, 4th Edition 2012, which is incorporated by reference herein in its entirety.

[0037] SARS-CoV-2 has a single-stranded positive-sense RNA genome. Other viruses, such as Flu A, Flu B, RSV A, and RSV B also have RNA-based genomes. In some embodiments, therefore, the amplification reaction (e.g., LAMP or PCR) can be combined with a reverse transcription (RT) reaction, such as in RT-LAMP or RT-PCR to convert the RNA genome to a cDNA template. The cDNA template is then used to create amplicons of the target sequences in the subsequent amplification reactions.

[0038] In some embodiments, the amplifying step can include performing qPCR, as that term is defined herein. qPCR is a sensitive and specific method for detecting and optionally quantifying amounts of starting nucleic acid template (e.g., coronaviral nucleic acid) in a sample. Methods of qPCR are well known in the art; one leading method involves the use of a specific hydrolysis probe in conjunction with a primer pair. The hydrolysis probe can include a detectable label (e.g., fluorophore) at one end and a quencher that quenches the detectable label at the other end. In some embodiments, the label is at the 5' end of the probe and cleavage of the 5' label occurs via 5' hydrolysis of the probe by the nucleic acid polymerase as it extends the forward primer towards the probe binding site within the target sequence. The separation of the probe label from the probe quencher via cleavage (or unfolding) of the probe results in an increase in signal which can be detected and optionally quantified. The detectable signal can be monitored over time and analyzed to determine the relative or absolute amount of starting nucleic acid template present in the sample. Suitable labels are described herein. In some embodiments, the dye-quencher combinations are used, such as those described in the Examples. It should be appreciated that qPCR and RT-qPCR methods are known to those having skill in the art. Nevertheless, particular embodiments are provided in the Examples and provide further details regarding qPCR as well as related compositions and methods of use thereof.

[0039] The reaction vessel or volume can optionally include a tube, channel, well, cavity, site or feature on a surface, or alternatively a droplet (e.g., a microdroplet or nanodroplet) that may be deposited onto a surface or into a surface well or cavity or suspended within (or partially bounded by) a fluid stream. In some embodiments, the reaction volume includes one or more droplets arrayed on a surface or present in an emulsion. The reaction volumes can optionally be formed by fusion of multiple pre-reaction volumes containing different components of an amplification reaction. For example, pre-reaction volumes containing one or more primers can be fused with pre-reaction volumes containing human nucleic acid samples and/or polymerase enzymes, nucleotides, and buffer. In some embodiments involving performing qPCR reactions in array format, a surface contains multiple grooves, channels, wells, cavities, sites, or features defining a reaction volume containing one or more amplification reagents (e.g., primers, probes, buffer, polymerase, nucleotides, and the like). In some array-formatted singleplex embodiments, the reaction volume within the selected tubes, grooves, channels, wells, cavities, sites, or features contains only a single forward primer sequence and a single reverse primer sequence. Optionally, a probe sequence is also included in the singleplex reaction volume.

[0040] In some array-formatted multiplex embodiments, the reaction volume within the selected tubes, grooves, channels, wells, cavities, sites, or features contains multiple (e.g., 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, etc.) forward primer sequences and multiple reverse primer sequences. Optionally, one or more probe sequences is also included in the multiplex reaction volume.

[0041] For instance, exemplary methods for polymerizing and/or amplifying and detecting nucleic acids suitable for use as described herein are commercially available as TaqMan assays (see, e.g., U.S. Patent Nos. 4,889,818; 5,079,352; 5,210,015; 5,436,134; 5,487,972; 5,658,751; 5,210,015; 5,487,972; 5,538,848; 5,618,711; 5,677,152; 5,723,591; 5,773,258; 5,789,224; 5,801,155; 5,804,375; 5,876,930; 5,994,056; 6,030,787; 6,084,102; 6,127,155; 6,171,785; 6,214,979; 6,258,569; 6,814,934; 6,821,727; 7,141,377; and/or 7,445,900, all of which are hereby incorporated herein by reference in their entirety). TaqMan assays are typically carried out by performing nucleic acid amplification on a target polynucleotide using a nucleic acid polymerase having 5'-to-3' nuclease activity, a primer capable of hybridizing to the target polynucleotide, and an oligonucleotide probe capable of hybridizing to said target polynucleotide 3' relative to the primer. The oligonucleotide probe typically includes a detectable label (e.g., a fluorescent reporter molecule) and a quencher molecule capable of quenching the fluorescence of the reporter molecule. Typically, the detectable label and quencher molecule are part of a single probe. As amplification proceeds, the polymerase digests the probe to separate the detectable label from the quencher molecule. The detectable label is monitored during the reaction, where detection of the label corresponds to the occurrence of nucleic acid amplification (e.g., the higher the signal the greater the amount of amplification). Variations of TaqMan assays are known in the art and would be suitable for use in the methods described herein.

[0042] For example, a singleplex or multiplex qPCR can include a single TaqMan dye associated with a locus-specific primer or multiple TaqMan dyes respectively associated with a plurality of loci in a multiplex format. As a non-limiting example, a 4-plex reaction can include FAM (emission peak ~517 nm), VIC (emission peak ~551 nm), ABY (emission peak ~580 nm), and JUN (emission peak ~617 nm) dyes, each dye being associated with a different target sequence and each dye being quenched by QSY, can allow up to 4 targets to be amplified and tracked real-time within a single reaction vessel. These aforementioned reporter dyes are optimized to work together with minimal spectral overlap for improved performance. These dyes can additionally be combined with Mustang Purple (emission peak ~654 nm) for use monitoring fluorescence of a control or for use in a non-emission-spectrum-overlapping 5-plex assay. In addition, the QSY quencher is fully compatible with probes that have minor-groove binder quenchers.

[0043] Detector probes may be associated with alternative quenchers, including without limitation, dark fluorescent quencher (DFQ), black hole quenchers (BHQ), Iowa Black, QSY quencher, and Dabsyl and Dabcel sulfonate/carboxylate Quenchers. Detector probes may also include two probes, wherein, for example, a fluorophore is associated with one probe and a quencher is associated with a complementary probe such that hybridization of the two probes on a target quenches the fluorescent signal or hybridization on the target alters the signal signature via a change in fluorescence. Detector probes may also include sulfonate derivatives of fluorescein dyes with SO3 instead of the carboxylate group, phosphoramidite forms of fluorescein, phosphoramidite forms of Cy5.

[0044] It should be appreciated that when using more than one detectable label, particularly in a multiplex format, each detectable label should differ in its spectral properties from the other detectable labels used therewith such that the labels may be distinguished from each other, or such that together the detectable labels emit a signal that is not emitted by either detectable label alone. Exemplary detectable labels include, for instance, a fluorescent dye or fluorophore (e.g., a chemical group that can be excited by light to emit fluorescence or phosphorescence), "acceptor dyes" capable of quenching a fluorescent signal from a fluorescent donor dye, and the like, as described above. Suitable detectable labels may include, for example, fluoresceins (e.g., 5-carboxy-2,7-dichlorofluorescein; 5-Carboxyfluorescein (5-FAM); 5-Hydroxy Tryptamine (5-HAT); 6-JOE; 6-carboxyfluorescein (6-FAM); Mustang Purple, VIC, ABY, JUN; FITC; 6-carboxy-4',5'-dichloro-2',7'-dimethoxy-fluorescein (JOE)); 6-carboxy-1,4-dichloro-2',7'-dichloro-fluorescein (TET); 6-carboxy-1,4-dichloro-2',4',5',7'-tetra-chlorofluorescein (HEX); Alexa Fluor fluorophores (e.g., 350, 405, 430, 488, 500, 514, 532, 546, 555, 568, 594, 610, 633, 635, 647, 660, 680, 700, 750); BODIPY fluorophores (e.g., 492/515, 493/503, 500/510, 505/515, 530/550, 542/563, 558/568, 564/570, 576/589, 581/591, 630/650-X, 650/665-X, 665/676, FL, FL ATP, FI-Ceramide, R6G SE, TMR, TMR-X conjugate, TMR-X, SE, TR, TR ATP, TR-X SE), Cascade Blue, Cascade Yellow; Cy dyes (e.g., 3, 3.18, 3.5, 5, 5.18, 5.5, 7), cyan GFP, cyclic AMP Fluorosensor (FiCRhR), fluorescent proteins (e.g., green fluorescent protein (e.g., GFP. EGFP), blue fluorescent protein (e.g., BFP, EBFP, EBFP2, Azurite, mKalamal), cyan fluorescent protein (e.g., ECFP, Cerulean, CyPet), yellow fluorescent protein (e.g., YFP, Citrine, Venus, YPet), FRET donor/acceptor pairs (e.g., fluorescein/fluorescein, fluorescein/tetramethylrhodamine, IAEDANS/fluorescein, EDANS/dabcyl, BODIPY FL/BODIPY FL, Fluorescein/QSY7 and QSY9), LysoTracker and LysoSensor (e.g., LysoTracker Blue DND-22, LysoTracker Blue-White DPX, LysoTracker Yellow HCK-123, LysoTracker Green DND-26, LysoTracker Red DND-99, LysoSensor Blue DND-167, LysoSensor Green DND-189, LysoSensor Green DND-153, LysoSensor Yellow/Blue DND-160, LysoSensor Yellow/Blue 10,000 MW dextran), Oregon Green (e.g., 488, 488-X, 500, 514); rhodamines (e.g., 110, 123, B, B 200, BB, BG, B extra, 5-carboxytetramethylrhodamine (5-TAMRA), 5 GLD, 6-Carboxyrhodamine 6G, Lissamine, Lissamine Rhodamine B, Phallicidine, Phalloidine, Red, Rhod-2, ROX (6-carboxy-X-rhodamine), 5-ROX (carboxy-X-rhodamine), Sulphorhodamine B can C, Sulphorhodamine G Extra, TAMRA (6-catboxytetramethyl¬rhodamine), Tetramethylrhodamine (TRITC), WT), Texas Red, Texas Red-X, among others as would be known to those of skill in the art.

[0045] Other detectable labels may also be used. For example, primers can be labeled and used to both generate amplicons and to detect the presence (or concentration) of amplicons generated in the reaction, and such may be used in addition to or as an alternative to labeled probes described herein. As a further example, primers may be labeled and utilized as described in Nazarenko et al. (Nucleic Acids Res. 2002 May 1; 30(9): e37), Hayashi et al. (Nucleic Acids Res. 1989 May 11; 17(9): 3605), and/or Neilan et al. (Nucleic Acids Res. Vol. 25, Issue 14, 1 July 1997, pp. 2938-39). Those of skill in the art will also understand and be capable of utilizing the PCR processes (and associated probe and primer design techniques) described in Zhu et al. (Biotechniques. 2020 Jul: 10.2144/btn-2020-0057).

[0046] In some embodiments, intercalating labels can be used such as ethidium bromide, SYBR Green I, SYBR GreenER, and PicoGreen (Life Technologies Corp., Carlsbad, CA), thereby allowing visualization in real-time, or end point, of an amplification product in the absence of a detector probe. It should be appreciated, however, that use of intercalating labels may limit multiplexing capabilities, as many intercalating labels are non-specific for a given sequence and merely report the total (or proportional) nucleic acid content within a reaction. In some embodiments, real-time visualization may include both an intercalating detector probe and a sequence-based detector probe. The detector probe can be at least partially quenched when not hybridized to a complementary sequence in the amplification reaction and is at least partially unquenched when hybridized to a complementary sequence in the amplification reaction. In some embodiments, probes may further comprise various modifications such as a minor groove binder to further provide desirable thermodynamic characteristics.

[0047] The genetic sequence of SARS-CoV-2 is available as NCBI accession no. NC 045512.2 and as GenBank accession no. MN908947.3, describing a positive-sense, single-stranded RNA genome of 29,844 base pairs; occasionally, such sequence is referred to herein as the 'normal', 'wild type' or 'reference' sequence for SARS-CoV-2, as opposed to SARS-CoV-2 variant or mutant sequences. Initial genetic characterizations of SARS-CoV-2 identified three coronaviruses having close homology to SARS-CoV-2, namely Bat-SL-CoVZC45, Bat-SL-CoVZXC21, and SARS-CoVGZ02. The sequence identity between these strains is depicted in FIGs. 1A and 1B. In particular, FIG. 1A illustrates the sequence identity between the consensus SARS-CoV-2 sequence as compared to each of Bat-SL-CoVZC45, Bat-SL-CoVZXC21, and SARS-CoVGZ02, across the complete genome as well as across each specific gene region within the coronavirus genome. FIG. 1B illustrates the tabular information of FIG. 1A in graphical form with the x-axis being the base pair position within the viral genome and the y-axis being the percent similarity of each related virus to the corresponding SARS-CoV-2 consensus sequence.

[0048] The analysis illustrated in FIGs. 1A and 1B identified at least three genetic regions with significant variability between SARS-CoV-2 and the other related viruses, specifically within the viral genes encoding the ORFlab protein (SEQ ID NO:1; base pair 1 corresponds to base pair 1000 of MN908947.3), the S protein (SEQ ID NO:2; base pair 1 corresponds to base pair 21564 of MN908947.3), and the N protein (SEQ ID NO:3; base pair 1 corresponds to base pair 28275 of MN908947.3). The region comprising the coding sequence for the ORFlab protein is between base pairs 1000-3000 of the SARS-CoV-2 genome; this sequence corresponds to SEQ ID NO:1. The 2,000 base pair region of the SARS-CoV-2 genome that includes the coding sequence for the S protein is between base pairs 21,564-23,564; this sequence corresponds to SEQ ID NO:2. Finally, the 1,283 base pair region of the SARS-CoV-2 genome that includes the coding sequence for the N protein is between base pairs 28,275-29,558; this sequence corresponds to SEQ ID NO:3.

[0049] In some embodiments, detecting amplification of target sequences includes measuring one or more signals emitted by a detectable label attached to, or associated with, one or more primers or probes. Optionally, the one or more signals are measured multiple times as the amplification reaction progresses, in some embodiments at least once per thermal cycle (e.g. during or just after an annealing or extension phase of a thermal cycle), thus allowing for amplification to be detected in 'real time'. In 'multiplex' amplification embodiments, the formation of a plurality of separate and different amplification products can be tracked over time by measuring a signal in one or more detection channels. The signal can be emitted by a detectable label, optionally a fluorescent label, attached to a primer and/or probe that selectively hybridizes to the amplification product. In some embodiments, each channel is calibrated to preferentially or selectively detect a corresponding amplification product and the signal in each channel is used as a measure of concentration of the corresponding amplification product. For example, in some embodiments, an amplification product of the S gene from SARS-CoV-2 is detected in a first detection channel based on a first signal emitted by a first label attached to, or associated with, a first primer and/or first probe that selectively hybridizes to the S gene amplification product, and an amplification product of the N gene is detected in a second detection channel based on a second signal emitted by a second label attached to, or associated with, a second primer and/or second probe that selectively hybridizes to the N gene amplification product. Optionally, in 'triplex' embodiments involving amplification of the Orflab gene, the amplification product of the ORFlab gene is detected in a third channel based on a third signal emitted by a third label attached to a third primer and/or third probe that selectively hybridizes to the ORFlab amplification product or to the ORFlab target region. In some embodiments, the amplification product of a control or reference sequence is detected in a fourth channel based on a fourth signal emitted by a fourth label attached to a fourth primer and/or fourth probe that selectively hybridizes to an amplification product of, or to a target sequence within the control or reference sequence.

[0050] In some embodiments (e.g., in the well-known and widely used TaqMan line of qPCR assays), detecting an amplification product includes detecting a signal emitted by a fluorescent label attached to the 5' end of a cleavable probe that selectively hybridizes to the amplification product during amplification. The cleavable probe further includes a quencher that quenches the fluorescent label to a 'baseline' fluorescence level. The 5' end of the cleavable probe is cleaved by the polymerase during the extension step, resulting in the separation of the fluorescent label from the quencher and a corresponding increase in fluorescence over baseline. As the PCR reaction progresses, the continuing increase in fluorescence over baseline is measured at each cycle. In some embodiments, an amplification product from the N gene of SARS-CoV-2 is detected in a first channel based on a first signal emitted by the VIC dye attached to a probe that selectively hybridizes to the corresponding amplification product from the N gene. Optionally, a second amplification product from the S gene of SARS-CoV-2 is detected in a second channel based on a second signal emitted by the ABY dye attached to a probe that selectively hybridizes to the corresponding amplification product from the S gene. Optionally, a third amplification product from the ORFlab gene of SARS-CoV-2 is detected in a third channel based on a third signal emitted by the FAM dye attached to a probe that selectively hybridizes to the corresponding amplification product from the ORFlab gene. Optionally, a fourth amplification product from a control or reference sequence is detected in a fourth channel based on a fourth signal emitted by the JUN dye attached to a probe that selectively hybridizes to the corresponding amplification product from the control or reference sequence.

[0051] In some embodiments, a passive reference dye, such as ROX is included in the reaction mixture. The metric "Rn" is optionally used to track progress of the amplification reaction and to determine the amount of target sequence originally present in the reaction mixture prior to amplification. Rn can be calculated as the fluorescence of the reporter dye divided by the fluorescence of a passive reference dye present in the reaction mixture; i.e., Rn is the reporter signal normalized to the fluorescence signal of the passive reference dye. In some embodiments, Rn is plotted against PCR cycle number. In some embodiments, ΔRn (calculated as Rn minus the baseline) can be plotted against PCR cycle number. In some embodiments, an amplification plot shows the variation of log (ΔRn) with PCR cycle number. Ct (threshold cycle) is the intersection between an amplification curve and a threshold line. The lower the Ct value for a given amplification product, the earlier the amplification is detectable and the higher the absolute amount, and the relative concentration, of the corresponding target sequence originally present in the reaction mixture. In some embodiments, cutoffs for Ct are used to determine whether a target sequence was originally present or absent in the reaction mixture prior to amplification. For example, in some embodiments a target sequence is determined to be present if the Ct value is less than or equal to 37.

[0052] In some embodiments, emerging variants of SARS-CoV-2 are detectable even if such variants include mutations in one or more of the target regions described above (i.e., ORFlab protein, S protein, or N protein regions). By looking at multiple target regions within the SARS-CoV-2 genome, accurate detection is achievable even in situations where mutations are significant enough to lead to a negative test result in one (or even two) of the target regions. For example, newly emerging variant B.1.1.7 (often referred to as "the UK variant") has an unusual number of mutations associated with the S protein region. These mutations are substantial enough that some test components and protocols designed for earlier SARS-CoV-2 variants will show a negative result for the S protein region. However, the built-in redundancy of looking at multiple regions ensures that the overall test is still capable of detecting the SARS-CoV-2 variant B.1.1.7 (based on positive ORFlab and/or N protein region detection) without significant effects on the overall accuracy of the test. In another example, the 501Y.V2 variant (discovered in South Africa) has not been found to affect detection of the S protein region or any of the other tested regions described herein. Nevertheless, the robustness and redundancy of embodiments that target multiple regions of the SARS-CoV-2 genome limit the risk that these variants, or others that emerge in the future, will significantly impact the overall accuracy of SARS-CoV-2 detection.

[0053] To maximize the specificity of a genetic assay for SARS-CoV-2, primers and probes were designed that targeted the coding regions for ORFlab, S protein, and N protein. In particular, the viral detection kits, arrays, assays, etc. disclosed herein include primers and/or probes specific for the SARS-CoV-2 genetic sequence encoding the S protein; none of the SARS-CoV-2 viral detection kits currently available target the S gene. Targeting the S gene (in addition to the coding regions associated with the N protein and ORFlab) provides several advantages in terms of specificity and reliability. For example, at least some of the disclosed assays targeting the coding region for the S protein have been shown to differentiate between SARS-CoV and SARS-CoV-2 at the receptor binding level. Inclusion of these primers and/or probes targeting the S gene sequences offers higher specificity in detection of SARS-CoV-2 strains against other similar coronaviruses, especially in geographical regions where subjects present with co-infections of SARS-CoV and SARS-CoV-2.

[0054] The specificity of the primers and probes provided in SEQ ID NO:4 - SEQ ID NO:2533 was estimated in silico using the standard mapping algorithm zpcr3p. These primers and probes were found to exhibit higher specificity for SARS-CoV-2 in silico than the primers and probes of other commercially available SARS-CoV-2 qPCR-based assays. Accordingly, the disclosed compositions, kits, and methods for detecting viral sequences include at least one primer and/or probe having a sequence defined by SEQ ID NO:4 - SEQ ID NO:2533, which enables the singleplex and multiplex assays described herein to demonstrate a high level of sensitivity, specificity, and accuracy. In some embodiments, a first forward primer is SEQ ID NO: 160. In some embodiments, a second forward primer is SEQ ID NO: 100. In some embodiments, a third forward primer is SEQ ID NO: 211. In some embodiments, a first reverse primer is SEQ ID NO: 468. In some embodiments, a second reverse primer is SEQ ID NO: 337. In some embodiments, a third reverse primer is SEQ ID NO: 501 and/or 510. In some embodiments, the probes are SEQ ID NOs: 1049, 864 and/or 833. In some embodiments of the disclosed compositions, kits, and methods, the first forward primer is SEQ ID NO: 160, the second forward primer is SEQ ID NO: 100, the third forward primer is SEQ ID NO: 211, the first reverse primer is SEQ ID NO: 468, the second reverse primer is SEQ ID NO: 337, the third reverse primer is SEQ ID NO: 501 and/or 510, and the complementary probes are SEQ ID NOs 1049, 864 and 833, respectively.

[0055] For example, the sensitivity for the assays described herein can be at least 30 GCE/rxn, 25 GCE/rxn, 20 GCE/rxn, 15 GCE/rxn, or 10 GCE/rxn, including all ranges and numbers in between, for simultaneous detection of multiple targets or pathogens including any of those described herein. In some embodiments, the multiplex assays described herein demonstrate a linear dynamic range (LDR) of detection from 107 to 10 GCE/rxn when calculated from a serial dilution. As used herein, "linear dynamic range (LDR)" refers to the range of input template (between the highest and lowest input RNA or DNA) for which acceptable linearity (R2 is ≥ 0.980) and efficiency (preferably between 90-110%) are observed.

[0056] In some embodiments, the singleplex assays described herein can demonstrate a sensitivity level down to 1-10 copies/µL input per reaction. For example, the sensitivity for the assays described herein can be as low as 20 copies/µL, 15 copies/µL, 10 copies/µL, 5 copies/µL, 4 copies/µL, 3 copies/µL, 2 copies/µL or 1 copy/µL per reaction, including all numbers and ranges in between. In some embodiments, the singleplex assays described herein can demonstrate an LDR over a range of at least 5 to 6 orders of magnitude with an R2 > 0.99 and a PCR efficiency near 100% using serial dilutions. For example, the singleplex assays described herein can demonstrate an LDR increase of at least 103, 104, 105, or 106. In some embodiments, a sample input range from 107 down to 101 copies, by serial dilution, is linear using the assays described herein.

[0057] In some embodiments, amplification of RNA viral genomes is achieved by performing reverse transcription followed by amplification of at least a portion of the resultant cDNA. Suitable methods are known in the art and include, for example, RT-PCR or RT-LAMP methods where the target sequence (e.g., viral RNA genome) is reverse transcribed to form a first cDNA strand, which is then copied in a template-dependent fashion to form a double stranded DNA sequence. The target sequence is then amplified from this double-stranded cDNA.

[0058] In some embodiments, RT-PCR is performed using samples comprising virus particles or suspected of comprising virus particles, which may be infectious virions, non-infectious or inactivated viral capsids enclosing the viral nucleic acid, or viral genomic RNA obtained from an infected cell. In such embodiments, the compositions, reaction mixtures, and kits disclosed herein can include at least one RNA-dependent DNA polymerase, generally termed a reverse transcriptase (RT), and related components for carrying out reverse transcription. RT-PCR may be performed using the compositions, reaction mixtures, and kits described herein, when, for example, RNA is the starting material for subsequent analysis.

[0059] In some embodiments, the RT-PCR may be a one-step procedure using one or more primers and one or more probes as described herein. In some embodiments, the RT-PCR may be carried out in a single reaction tube, reaction vessel (e.g., "single-tube" or "1-tube" or "single-vessel" reaction). In some embodiments, the RT-PCR may be carried out in a multi-site reaction vessel, such as a multi-well plate or array. In some embodiments, RT and PCR are performed in the same reaction vessel or reaction site, such as in 1-step or 1-tube RT-qPCR. Suitable exemplary RTs can include, for instance, a Moloney Murine Leukemia Virus (M-MLV) Reverse transcriptase, SuperScript Reverse Transcriptases (Thermo Fisher Scientific), SuperScript IV Reverse Transcriptases (Thermo Fisher Scientific), or Maxima Reverse Transcriptases (Thermo Fisher Scientific), or modified forms of any such RTs.

[0060] In some embodiments, only a single RT-qPCR assay (consisting of a given forward primer and a given reverse primer sequence) is included within a reaction vessel or volume, a reaction mode referred to as "singleplex" herein. Optionally, the singleplex qPCR assay can also include a single probe sequence in addition to the forward primer sequence and the reverse primer sequence. The probe sequence can be a hydrolysis probe sequence. Optionally, the probe includes an MGB (minor groove binding protein), as in TaqMan probes.

[0061] In some embodiments, the disclosed compositions and methods can be used in multiplex format, wherein two or more qPCR assays, each capable of amplifying and detecting a different target sequence, are present in a single reaction volume. In some embodiments, different assays in the same reaction volume will cause a corresponding different amplification product to be generated when the reaction volume is subjected to appropriate amplification conditions and multiple amplicons may be formed in the same reaction volume. The different amplification products can be produced simultaneously when the reaction volume is subjected to amplification conditions; alternatively, different amplification products may be produced serially or consecutively. For example, some assay reaction products may take longer to appear than others due to initial starting concentration of template or may benefit from different reaction conditions for optimal production.

[0062] In some embodiments, different assay products can be independently detected or at least discriminated from each other. For example, different assay products may be distinguished optically (e.g., using optically different labels for each qPCR assay whose emission spectra can be, for example, on the light spectrum, inclusive of infrared, UV, and visible light) or can be discriminated using some other suitable method, including as described in U.S. Patent Publication No. 2019/0002963, which is incorporated herein by reference in its entirety. In some embodiments, specific combinations of labels are used to differentiate between different pathogens, strains, and/or types of pathogens. For example, different respiratory pathogens or viruses may be differentiated from one another using different labels specific to each pathogen or virus such that the label is detectable only in the presence-and amplification-of the pathogen- or viral-specific nucleic acid sequence.

[0063] In some array-based embodiments, two or more different qPCR assays (each containing a forward primer, a reverse primer and optionally a probe) are present in a single well, cavity, site or feature of the array and products of each assay can be independently detected. For example, different assay products may be discriminated optically (e.g., using different labels present as components of each assay) or using some other suitable method, including as described in U.S. Patent Publication No. 2019/0002963. In some embodiments, at least one primer of each assay contains an optically detectable label that can be discriminated from the optical label of at least one other assay. For the purposes of this disclosure, a PCR assay, which for the sake of clarity is inclusive of any polymerase-driven amplification reaction disclosed herein (e.g., qPCR and RT-qPCR), is considered different from another PCR assay if the respective amplicons differ in nucleic acid sequence by at least one nucleotide.

[0064] In a preferred multiplex format, at least two different assays are combined into a single reaction volume to determine at least the presence of SARS-CoV-2 from a nucleic acid sample obtained or derived from a clinical or laboratory source.

[0065] It should be appreciated that the subject and type of sample may vary. For example, a nasopharyngeal swab has traditionally served as the gold standard in many clinical diagnostic situations, particularly those associated with upper respiratory tract infections. A nucleic acid fraction of the sample obtained by the nasopharyngeal swab can be extracted and used for downstream analysis, such as RT-qPCR. The swab (or other samples disclosed herein) may be obtained or collected from a human subject, but it should be appreciated that the disclosed embodiments can additionally extend to the processing of samples from non-human subjects, such as non-human animals. In some embodiments, the non-human animal subject can be a mink or other domesticated (or non-domesticated) animal, and the disclosed compositions, kits, and methods can be used to detect the presence of SARS-CoV-2 within the non-human animal (e.g., for diagnostic or screening purposes).

[0066] As an additional example, the collected sample may be a raw saliva sample. As provided herein, the raw saliva sample can be self-collected (e.g., within a saliva collection device or sterile tube) or collected from the subject by any other individual in proximity to the subject. In some embodiments, the raw saliva sample is collected directly into a sealable container without any preservation solution or other fluid or substance in the container prior to receipt of the saliva sample or as a result of closing/sealing the container. The disclosed embodiments for detecting viral nucleic acid from a sample can be adapted to detect viral nucleic acid directly from the saliva sample, or in alternative embodiments, the sample can undergo a specific RNA purification and/or extraction step prior to its use in a detection assay (e.g., RT-qPCR). Thus, it should be appreciated that in some embodiments, a subject sample (e.g., saliva) can directly serve as sample input for subsequent downstream analyses, such as PCR, and this can be accomplished, in some embodiments, with no nucleic acid purification and/or extraction step prior to its use.

[0067] In some embodiments, a method for detecting viral nucleic acid, particularly SARS-CoV-2, directly from a raw saliva sample can include collecting or receiving a saliva sample from a subject and heat treating the sample such as by placing the raw saliva sample on a heat block/water bath set to a temperature of 95°C for 30 minutes. The heating step can provide many benefits, including, for example, denaturing nucleases such as RNase within the saliva that may interfere with accurate assessments of viral presence. Heating the raw saliva sample can also break down the mucus, making the sample more amenable to manipulation with laboratory equipment such as pipettes. The high heat can also cause thermal disruption of any prokaryotic and eukaryotic cells present in the sample and can also disrupt enveloped viruses and/or viral capsids present in the sample and thereby increase accessibility to any viral nucleic acid.

[0068] The method can additionally include mixing the heat-treated sample (e.g., via vortexing the sample for at least 10 seconds) before and/or after equilibrating the heat-treated sample to room temperature. A lysis solution can then be prepared and combined (e.g., in 1:1 proportions) with the heat-treated sample to create a probative template solution for detecting the presence of viral nucleic acid within the sample via nucleic acid amplification reactions (e.g., PCR, RT-PCR, qPCR, RT-qPCR, or the like). The lysis solution can include a nucleic-acid-amenable buffer such as TBE combined with a detergent and/or emulsifier (e.g., Tween-20, Triton-X-100, NP-40, or the like), the polysorbate-type nonionic surfactant. The detergent and/or emulsifier can promote better mixing of the reagents and may also act to increase accessibility to any viral nucleic acid within the sample (e.g., by removing lipid envelopes from virions).

[0069] Once the probative template solution is formed, it can be combined with PCR reagents and subjected to conditions suitable to generate viral-specific (e.g., SARS-CoV-2-specific, Flu A/B-specific, and/or RSV-A/B-specific) amplicons if the viral nucleic acid is present. In some embodiments, the primers can be selected from SEQ ID NO:4 - SEQ ID NO:510 and can be coupled with one or probes generated from sequences disclosed in SEQ ID NO:520 - SEQ ID NO:2533 to specifically identify the amplified coding regions associated with the SARS-CoV-2 N protein and S protein and/or ORFlab region in addition to any other selected viral sequence to be identified. In some embodiments, the primers and/or probes can be included within a kit, which may additionally include an internal control primer and probe set for identifying a positive control coding sequence (e.g., endogenously present human RNase P RPP30 sequence). The foregoing and similar methods are beneficially compatible with some currently available assays/kits, such as the TaqCheck SARS-CoV-2 Fast PCR Assay, TaqCheck SARS-CoV-2 Control, and TaqCheck SARS-CoV-2 Control Dilution Buffer, and may additionally be compatible with preexisting thermal cycling master mixes, such as TaqPath 1-Step RT-qPCR Master Mix, CG.

[0070] Notably, in some embodiments, the nucleic acid amplification protocol can be configured for rapid processing (e.g., in less than about 45 minutes) and high throughput, allowing for a minimally invasive method to quickly screen large numbers of individuals in a scalable way. This can be particularly useful to perform asymptomatic testing (e.g., high frequency/widespread testing at schools, workplaces, conventions, sporting events, large social gatherings, etc.) or for epidemiological purposes. The disclosed embodiments can also beneficially provide a lower cost sample collection system and method that enables self-collection (reducing health care professional (HCP) staffing needs) using a low-cost collection device. This eliminates the requirements for swabs, buffers, virus transmission media (or other specialized transport medium), and the like. The disclosed embodiments also allow for a reduction in Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) requirements and costs. Because the reagents and methods are streamlined (e.g., no precursor nucleic acid purification and/or extraction step), there is a reduced use of nucleic acid preparation plastics which brings a coincident reduction in reagent costs and inventory costs. There is also a beneficial reduced dependence on supply-constrained items, and the compatibility of these methods and kit components with existing equipment improves the flexibility and simplicity of their implementation to the masses. Overall, such embodiments allow for a less expensive assay that can be accomplished more quickly from sample collection through result generation.

[0071] The disclosed methods for the direct detection of viral nucleic acids, particularly SARS-CoV-2, from a raw saliva sample are beneficially robust. For example, the probative template obtained from the raw saliva sample can be used and/or is compatible with many varied PCR reagents and/or commercially available kits. That is, in some embodiments, a saliva sample that is received directly from the subject (whether through self-collection or assisted collection), heat treated, and combined with a buffer/detergent mixture (e.g., a TBS/Tween-20 solution) for use as the sample input for existing PCR/LAMP kits and is otherwise compatible with many commercially available PCR/LAMP buffers, polymerases, and other PCR/LAMP reagents. Indeed, in some embodiments, no additional steps or modifications to the existing PCR/LAMP protocols are needed when using the heat-treated saliva sample in TBS/Tween-20 (or other buffer/detergent mixture) as the nucleic acid source for amplification. This allows for rapid adoption and implementation while maintaining the desired (and often requisite) specificity and reliability of a diagnostic test. In some embodiments, the disclosed methods for the direct detection of SARS-CoV-2 from a raw saliva sample has a sensitivity of <10,000 GCE/mL. In some embodiments, the methods and kits have a sensitivity of <5,000 GCE/mL, <2,500 GCE/mL, <1,000 GCE/mL, or any value or range therebetween. For example,

[0072] An exemplary method for detecting viral nucleic acid, particularly SARS-CoV-2, directly from a raw saliva sample is provided in the Examples section below.

[0073] As provided herein, it should be appreciated that the nucleic acid sample can obtained from other body tissues or sources, including but not limited to bodily fluids other than saliva (e.g., blood, urine, sputum, and the like). In some embodiments, SARS-CoV-2 or other viruses are detected by analysis of swabs, or fluid obtained from swabs, such as throat swabs, nasal swabs, nasopharyngeal swabs, cheek swabs, saliva swabs, or other swabs. In some embodiments, the nucleic acid sample includes a total nucleic acid content isolated from a subject via nasopharyngeal swab, nasopharyngeal aspirate, and/or bronchoalveolar lavage. However, it should be appreciated that SARS-CoV-2 or other coronaviruses and/or other viruses may also be detected by analysis of urine samples, saliva samples, or other suitable clinical samples.

[0074] In some embodiments, particularly where the sample is not used directly to identify the presence of viral sequences, an initial step for detecting viral sequences can include subjecting each sample to a nucleic acid purification assay. The purified or otherwise extracted nucleic acid fraction of the subject sample is then added to the downstream detection assays. The total nucleic acid content can be isolated by any means known in the art, including, for example, using a MagMAX Viral/Pathogen Ultra Nucleic Acid Isolation Kit (sold by Thermo Fisher Scientific under Cat. No. A42356). In short, the MagMAX kit provides nucleic-acid-binding beads and other reagents for binding, washing, and eluting nucleic acid from a clinical/laboratory sample. These eluted nucleic acids preferably include the total nucleic acid content purified from the sample.

[0075] In some embodiments, the total nucleic acid content includes any genomic DNA and transcribed RNA derived from subject cells captured within the sample in addition to any genomic/transcribed nucleic acids derived from the subject's eukaryotic and/or prokaryotic microbiota captured during the sampling process. Any single-stranded (plus or minus) RNA, double-stranded RNA, cDNA derivatives thereof, single-stranded (plus or minus) DNA, or double-stranded DNA derived from viruses captured in the sample are also, preferably, included within the total nucleic acid content eluted from the clinical/laboratory sample. This eluted total nucleic acid content can then be used as the source of template nucleic acid within the disclosed RT-qPCR assays.

[0076] The compositions, reaction mixtures, and kits may also comprise any other components necessary for carrying out such RT-qPCR reactions, such as may be found in SuperScript IV VILO Master Mix (Thermo Fisher Scientific), TaqPath 1-Step RT-qPCR Master Mix (Thermo Fisher Scientific), TaqMan Fast Virus 1-Step Master Mix (Thermo Fisher Scientific) or any other suitable RT-PCR master mixes which may be commercially available. RT-PCR protocols are known within the art. Notwithstanding this, an exemplary RT-PCR protocol for use in the multiplex viral detection protocols described herein is set forth in the Examples.

[0077] In some embodiments, the reverse transcription and/or nucleic acid amplification assays as described herein are performed using a real-time quantitative PCR (qPCR) instrument, including for example a QuantStudio Real-Time PCR system, such as the QuantStudio 5 RealTime PCR System (QS5) and QuantStudio 12K Flex System (QS12K), or a 7500 Real-Time PCR system, such as the 7500 Fast Dx system, from Thermo Fisher Scientific.

[0078] The disclosed kits for detecting viral sequences contain, in some embodiments, one or more of the forward primers, reverse primers, and/or probes for detecting target nucleic acid sequences in the SARS-CoV-2 genome, such as disclosed in SEQ ID NO:4 - SEQ ID NO:251; SEQ ID NO:267 - SEQ ID NO:504 and SEQ ID NO:510; and SEQ ID NO:520 - SEQ ID NO:1295 and SEQ ID NO:1466 - SEQ ID NO:2359, respectively. In some embodiments, the primers described herein are included in the kits, array cards, and similar at a concentration from about 100 nM to 1 mM (e.g. 300nM, 400nM, 500 nM, etc.), including all concentration amounts and ranges in between. In some embodiments, the probes described herein are used in a nucleic acid assay at a concentration from about 50 nM to 500 nM (e.g., 75 nM, 125 nM, 250 nM, etc.), including all concentration amounts and ranges in between.

[0079] The disclosed kits, arrays, etc. disclosed herein can include reagents for performing a nucleic acid amplification method, as discussed herein, disclosed herein typically include at least one primer pair (e.g., a forward primer selected from SEQ ID NO:4 - SEQ ID NO:251 and a reverse primer selected from SEQ ID NO:267 - SEQ ID NO:504 and SEQ ID NO:510) directed to a SARS-CoV-2 target nucleic acid sequence, a nucleic acid polymerase (e.g., temperature-tolerant DNA-dependent DNA polymerases such as Taq or RNA-dependent DNA polymerases, also known as reverse transcriptase), and a pool of deoxynucleotide triphosphates (dNTPs) for synthesizing cDNA templates and/or amplicons. Each of the foregoing can be included individually within the disclosed kits, as needed, in concentrations suitable for the various thermal cycling reactions in which they are used, as known in the art. In some embodiments, the kits can additionally include buffers and/or salts at an appropriate concentration for the generation of a reaction mixture that, for example, increases levels of polymerase activity in the reaction mixture, as known in the art or otherwise disclosed herein.

[0080] In some embodiments, optimal amplification and detectability for viral genomes is achieved by the disclosed kits using a master mix included therein and which can be added to the reaction volume prior to amplification. A master mix can include, for example, one or more of a nucleic acid polymerase, dNTPs, buffers, and salts-all of which are included in the master mix at the appropriate concentration such that when the desired volume of sample is added (with or without balancing volumes of PCR-grade water). In some embodiments (particularly multiplex assays), the disclosed kits and/or reaction volumes can include TaqMan Fast Virus 1-Step Master Mix (sold by Thermo Fisher Scientific under Catalog No. 44444432), or alternatively, TaqPath 1-Step RT-qPCR Master Mix, CG (sold by Thermo Fisher Scientific under Catalog No. A15299). In other embodiments the master mix is TaqPath 1 Step Multiplex Master Mix (No ROX) (sold by Thermo Fisher Scientific under Catalog Nos. A48111 and A28521) or similar master mix known in the art. In some embodiments, the kit includes primers, probes, and master mix sufficient to constitute a reaction mixture supporting multiplex amplification of one or more SARS-CoV-2 regions encoding the N protein, the S protein and/or ORFlab protein in a single reaction volume.

[0081] In some embodiments, the kit includes at least one qPCR assay (including forward primer, reverse primer, probe, and optionally a master mix or components thereof) configured to amplify a region of the gene encoding the ORFlab protein. In some embodiments, the kit includes at least one qPCR assay (including forward primer, reverse primer, probe, and optionally a master mix or components thereof) configured to amplify a region of the gene encoding the N protein. In some embodiments, the kit includes at least one qPCR assay (including forward primer, reverse primer, probe, and optionally a master mix or components thereof) configured to amplify a region of the gene encoding the S protein. In some embodiments, the kit includes at least one qPCR assay (including forward primer, reverse primer and optionally a probe) configured to amplify a region of the gene encoding the N protein, at least one qPCR assay (including forward primer, reverse primer, probe, and optionally a master mix or components thereof) configured to amplify a region of the gene encoding the S protein, and/or at least one qPCR assay (including forward primer, reverse primer, probe, and optionally a master mix or components thereof) configured to amplify a region of the gene encoding the ORFlab protein.

[0082] In some embodiments, the primers and/or probes associated with SEQ ID NO:4 - SEQ ID NO:2533 and/or Table 2 may further comprise a fluorescent or other detectable label and/or a quencher or minor groove binder, such as those described above. As a non-limiting example, said primers and/or probes can be associated with FAM, ABY, VIC, or JUN as detectable labels and QSY as a quencher. As such, it should be appreciated that the primers and probes of SEQ ID NO:4 - SEQ ID NO:2533 and/or Table 2 may be included with disclosed kits, arrays, etc. for use in either singleplex or multiplex assay formats.

[0083] In some embodiments of multiplex assay formats described herein, one or more various SARS-CoV-2 genomic regions are detected, including assays for detecting the coding regions of ORFlab (e.g., FAM-labeled), N Protein (e.g., VIC-labeled), and/or S Protein (e.g., ABY-labeled). As described above, one or more labelled primers may be used, in addition to or as an alternative to labelled probes, for detecting one or more target nucleic acids. Thus, in some embodiments, no probes are utilized.

[0084] In some embodiments of multiplex assay formats described herein, various SARS-CoV-2 genomic regions are detected, including assays for the coding regions of N Protein and S Protein (e.g., both FAM-labeled), optionally combined with assays for Flu A (e.g., VIC-labeled) and/or Flu B (e.g., ABY-labeled). In some embodiments of multiplex assay formats described herein, various SARS-CoV-2 genomic regions are detected, including assays for detecting the coding regions of N Protein and S Protein (e.g., VIC-labeled), optionally combined with assays for Flu A and/or B (e.g., both FAM-labeled) and/or for RSV Type A and/or Type B (e.g., both ABY-labeled). Optionally, in some embodiments, a control (e.g., JUN-labeled), such as bacteriophage MS2 or RNase P control, is included in the kit, array, etc. comprising the multiplex assay. It should be appreciated that although particular examples are provided above indicating a given fluorophore associated with detection of a given viral sequence, the primers and/or probes can be modified to include a functionally similar fluorophore described herein or as otherwise known in the art. Further, quenchers, such as QSY, can be included in any of the foregoing examples, and the detectable label and/or quencher can be selected based on the singleplex or multiplex requirements of the given qPCR assay in accordance with the constraints and considerations discussed above or otherwise understood by those having skill in the art.

[0085] In some embodiments, at least one of the qPCR assays targets a sequence within a SARS-CoV-2 gene selected from the group consisting of: the N protein, the ORFlab protein, and the S protein. In some embodiments, the reaction volume further includes a second qPCR assay targeting a different gene of the aforementioned group. In some embodiments, the reaction volume further includes a third qPCR assay that targets the remaining third gene from the aforementioned group, such that when the reaction volume is subjected to amplification conditions, and if the sample includes SARS-CoV-2 genomic RNA, at least one amplicon is produced from genetic sequence encoding the S protein, at least one amplicon from genetic sequence encoding the N protein and at least one amplicon from the genetic sequence encoding the ORFlab protein.

[0086] In a further multiplex format, at least two qPCR assays are combined into a single reaction volume that includes a nucleic acid sample obtained or derived from body tissue, as described herein, and at least one exogenous positive control nucleic acid sequence. The exogenous positive control sequence may comprise an MS2 phage sequence/gene or other nucleic acid sequence, preferably RNA sequence. Additionally, or alternatively, the multiplex qPCR assays include an endogenous positive control, such as human RNase P. In some embodiments, the primer and/or probe sequences described by the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) may be utilized (https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/lab/rt-pcr-panel-primer-probes.html). For example, assays described herein may include one or more primers and/or probes shown in Table 2.
Table 2: CDC 2019-Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV) Real-time RT-PCR Primers and Probes
Name/DescriptionSEQ ID NOLabels1,2Oligonucleotide Sequence (5' > 3')Final Conc.*
2019-nCoV N1 Forward Primer SEQ ID NO:2544 None GAC CCC AAA ATC AGC GAA AT 500 nM
2019-nCoV N1 Reverse Primer SEQ ID NO:2545 None

 
500 nM
2019-nCoV N1 Probe SEQ ID NO:2546 FAM, BHQ-1

 
125 nM
2019-nCoV N1 Probe SEQ ID NO:2547 FAM, ZEN, 3IABkFQ

 
125 nM
2019-nCoV N2 Forward Primer SEQ ID NO:2548 None TTA CAA ACA TTG GCC GCA AA 500 nM
2019-nCoV N2 Reverse Primer SEQ ID NO:2549 None GCG CGA CAT TCC GAA GAA 500 nM
2019-nCoV N2 Probe SEQ ID NO:2550 FAM, BHQ-1

 
125 nM
2019-nCoV N2 Probe SEQ ID NO:2551 FAM, ZEN, 3IABkFQ

 
125 nM
RNase P Forward Primer SEQ ID NO:2552 None AGA TTT GGA CCT GCG AGC G 500 nM
RNase P Reverse Primer SEQ ID NO:2553 None GAG CGG CTG TCT CCA CAA GT 500 nM
RNase P Probe SEQ ID NO:2554 FAM, BHQ-1

 
125 nM
RNase P Probe SEQ ID NO:2555 FAM, ZEN, 3IABkFQ

 
125nM
RNase P Probe SEQ ID NO:2556 VIC, QSY

 
125nM
1 - The labels shown are exemplary to some embodiments of the compositions, reactions mixtures, kits, or methods described herein and are in no way meant to limit other possible labels, including various fluorophores and quenchers, contemplated for use in the primers and probes described herein.
2 - TaqMan® probes are labeled at the 5'-end with the reporter molecule 6-carboxyfluorescein (FAM) and with the quencher, Black Hole Quencher 1 (BHQ-1) (Biosearch Technologies, Inc., Novato, CA) at the 3'-end. TaqMan® probes can also be labeled at the 5'-end with the reporter molecule 6-carboxyfluorescein (FAM) and with a double quencher, ZEN Internal Quencher positioned between the ninth (9th) and tenth (10th) nucleotide base in the oligonucleotide sequence and Iowa Black® FQ (3IABkFQ) located at the 3'-end (Integrated DNA Technologies, Coralville, IA).
- The final concentrations shown are exemplary to some embodiments of the compositions, reactions mixtures, kits, or methods described herein and are in no way meant to limit other possible concentrations or concentration ranges for use in the compositions, reactions mixtures, kits, or methods contemplated herein.


[0087] In some embodiments, kits are provided that include reagents for a multiplex qPCR assay targeting a SARS-CoV-2 sequence selected from the coding regions of the ORFlab protein, the N protein, and/or the S protein. In some embodiments, the kits additionally include reagents for a second qPCR assay targeting a different, SARS-CoV-2 sequence selected from the coding regions of the ORFlab protein, the N protein, and the S protein. In some embodiments, the kits additionally include reagents for a third qPCR assay targeting the third SARS-CoV-2 sequence selected form the coding regions associated with the ORFlab protein, the N protein, and the S protein, such that when a reaction volume containing reagents from the first, second, and third qPCR assays is subjected to amplification conditions-and if the nucleic acid sample being tested includes SARS-CoV-2 genomic RNA (or cDNA reverse transcribed therefrom)-at least one amplicon is produced from the coding region associated with the ORFlab protein, at least one amplicon is produced from the coding region associated with the S protein, and at least one amplicon is produced from the coding region associated with the N protein (e.g., using a first forward primer selected from SEQ ID NO:4, SEQ ID NO:34, and SEQ ID NO:160, a second forward primer selected from SEQ ID NO:5 and SEQ ID NO:100, and a third forward primer selected from SEQ ID NO:211 and SEQ ID NO:248; using a first reverse primer selected from SEQ ID NO:320, SEQ ID NO:423, and SEQ ID NO:468, a second reverse primer selected from SEQ ID NO:337 and SEQ ID NO:441, and a third reverse primer selected from SEQ ID NO:487 SEQ ID NO:501, and 510; and using complementary probes selected from SEQ ID NO:520 - SEQ ID NO:1295 and/or SEQ ID NO:1466 - SEQ ID NO:2359; preferably one or more probes selected from SEQ ID NO: 821 - 1054, SEQ ID NO: 1853 - 2027, SEQ ID NO: 2028 - 2220, and/or SEQ ID NO: 2221 - 2359; and more preferably one or more probes selected from SEQ ID NO:565, SEQ ID NO:599, SEQ ID NO:833, SEQ ID NO:864, SEQ ID NO:930, SEQ ID NO:971, SEQ ID NO:1049, SEQ ID NO:1106, SEQ ID NO:1160, SEQ ID NO:1203, SEQ ID NO:1866, SEQ ID NO:1891, SEQ ID NO:1962, SEQ ID NO:2031, SEQ ID NO:2188, SEQ ID NO:2203, SEQ ID NO:2216, SEQ ID NO:2248, SEQ ID NO:2291, and/or SEQ ID NO:2345). In some embodiments, the first forward primer is SEQ ID NO: 160. In some embodiments, the second forward primer is SEQ ID NO: 100. In some embodiments, the third forward primer is SEQ ID NO: 211. In some embodiments, the first reverse primer is SEQ ID NO: 468. In some embodiments, the second reverse primer is SEQ ID NO: 337. In some embodiments, the third reverse primer is SEQ ID NO: 501 and/or 510. In some embodiments, the complementary probes are SEQ ID NOs: 1049, 864 and/or 833. In some embodiments the first forward primer is SEQ ID NO: 160, the second forward primer is SEQ ID NO: 100, the third forward primer is SEQ ID NO: 211, the first reverse primer is SEQ ID NO: 468, the second reverse primer is SEQ ID NO: 337, the third reverse primer is SEQ ID NO: 501 and/or 510, and the complementary probes are SEQ ID NOs 1049, 864 and 833, respectively.

[0088] The primer and probe sequences described herein need not have 100% homology to their targets to be effective, though in some embodiments, homology is substantially 100%. In some embodiments, one or more of the disclosed primer and/or probe sequences have a homology to their respective target of about 50%, about 60%, about 70%, about 80%, about 85%, about 90%, about 95%, about 97%, about 98%, about 99%, or up to substantially 100%. Some combinations of primers and/or probes may include primers and/or probes each with different homologies to their respective targets, and the homologies may be, for example, within a range with endpoints defined by any two of the foregoing values.

[0089] In some embodiments, the multiplex qPCR kits disclosed herein additionally include reagents for a fourth qPCR assay targeting an exogenous/endogenous positive control sequence, such that when the multiplex reaction volume is subjected to amplification conditions-and if the sample includes SARS-CoV-2 genomic RNA and subject-derived nucleic acid or exogenously added template nucleic acid-at least one amplicon is produced from the coding region associated with the ORFlab protein, at least one amplicon is produced from the coding region associated with the S protein, at least one amplicon is produced from the coding region associated with the N protein, as above, and at least one amplicon is produced from the exogenous/endogenous positive control sequence. If the positive control sequence is an endogenously-derived control, such as RNase P, the presence of subject-derived nucleic acid (e.g., genomic DNA coding for RNase P, RNase P RNA, and/or reverse transcribed RNase P transcript), can be used as the template for an RNase P qPCR assay. Exemplary primers and probes for such an RNase P qPCR positive control can include SEQ ID NO:2552 - SEQ ID NO:2556, although those having skill in the art should appreciate that other RNase-P-specific primers and/or probes could be used. If the positive control sequence is an exogenously-derived control, such as a component of the MS2 bacteriophage, a known or predetermined concentration of template nucleic acid is added to the reaction volume to serve as the requisite template for an MS2 qPCR assay. Exemplary primers and probes for an exogenous MS2 qPCR positive control can include SEQ ID NO:256, SEQ ID NO:509, and SEQ ID NO:1300, although those having skill in the art should appreciate that other MS2-specific primers and/or probes could be used.

[0090] In some embodiments, the singleplex and multiplex assays can include synthetic DNA controls and/or genomic RNA controls for the pathogenic targets being tested, clinical isolate research samples, and/or organism samples. The compositions and kits can also include a control DNA construct comprising a plasmid carrying the target sequences of the N protein, the S protein and the ORF1ab protein. The control plasmid can additionally include an RNase P coding sequence for use as a positive control and/or a Xeno cassette for monitoring sample contamination. In some embodiments, the synthetic control construct is provided in a separate kit with the same primers and probes included within a complementary kit used to detect SARS-CoV-2 viral nucleic acid from a biological sample. These two kits can be manufactured, in some embodiments, at different locations to prevent any possible cross-contamination of the control plasmid within the detection kits (which would result in false positive sample results).

[0091] In some embodiments, the multiplex RT-qPCR kits disclosed herein additionally include reagents for a fifth qPCR assay that targets two separate (exogenous/endogenous) positive control sequences, such that when the reaction volume is subjected to amplification conditions-and if the sample includes SARS-CoV-2 genomic RNA and subject-derived nucleic acid or exogenously added template nucleic acid-at least one amplicon is produced from the coding region associated with the ORF1ab protein, at least one amplicon is produced from the coding region associated with the S protein, at least one amplicon is produced from the coding region associated with the N protein, as above, and at least two amplicons are produced from the exogenous and/or endogenous positive control sequence(s) (e.g., using primers and probes for RNase P and/or MS2 described above, or other selective and specific primers and probes that can serve as a positive control in the qPCR assays described herein).

[0092] In some embodiments, the disclosed primers and probes (including those listed in SEQ ID NO:4 - SEQ ID NO:2533) are used in a multiplex assay format that targets at least two different loci in the SARS-CoV-2 genome, namely: the gene encoding ORFlab, the gene encoding the S protein, and/or the gene encoding the N protein. In some embodiments, the disclosed primers and probes are used in a multiplex assay format that targets at least three loci in the SARS-CoV-2 genome, namely: the gene encoding ORFlab, the gene encoding the S protein, and the gene encoding the N protein. A single qPCR reaction volume includes multiple assays for each of these target genes to ensure redundancy and specific identification of the target virus.

[0093] For example, a multiplex assay of the present disclosure includes a 4-plex assay where three of the four dye channels are each dedicated to the identification of a different SARS-CoV-2 coding region, particularly portions of the coding regions associated with the N protein, the S protein, or ORFlab that allow for the specific and selective identification of SARS-CoV-2. The fourth dye channel can be used for the identification of a positive control (e.g., an exogenously added control like MS2 or an endogenously present control like RNase P). That is, multiplex assays of the present disclosure can include probes having sequence specificity for coding regions of the N protein, S protein, or ORFlab coupled to a detectable label and/or quencher as proved herein. As a non-specific example, a multiplex assay can include a first probe targeting a SARS-CoV-2-specific N protein coding sequence and having a VIC dye associated therewith. A second probe of the multiplex assay can target a SARS-CoV-2-specific S protein coding sequence and have an ABY dye associated therewith. A third probe of the multiplex assay can target a SARS-CoV-2-specific ORFlab coding sequence and have a FAM dye associated therewith. A fourth probe of the multiplex assay can be specific for a positive control sequence and have a JUN dye associated therewith. One having skill in the art will recognize that the foregoing dyes can be interchanged or exchanged for another detectable label known in the art.

[0094] In some embodiments, a 4-plex assay includes at least two SARS-CoV-2-specific probes sharing the same dye channel. Second and third dye channels of the 4-plex assay can be associated with Flu A- and Flu B-specific probes, respectively, and the fourth dye channel can be associated with RSV A and/or RSV B specific probes or a positive control probe. Alternatively, a second dye channel can be shared by Flu A and Flu B specific probes, a third channel can be associated with RSV A and/or RSV B specific probes, and a fourth dye channel can be associated with a positive control probe. Alternatively, the third dye channel can be associated with a Flu A-specific probe, and the fourth channel can be associated with a Flu B-specific probe.

[0095] In some embodiments, a 4-plex assay includes at least two SARS-CoV-2-specific probes sharing the same dye channel. Second and third dye channels of the 4-plex assay can be associated with RSV A-specific and RSV B-specific probes, respectively, and the fourth dye channel can be associated with Flu A- and/or Flu B-specific probes or a positive control probe. Alternatively, a second dye channel can be shared by RSV A and RSV B specific probes, a third channel can be associated with Flu A- and/or Flu B-specific probes, and a fourth dye channel can be associated with a positive control probe. Alternatively, the third dye channel can be associated with an RSV A-specific probe, and the fourth channel can be associated with an RSV B-specific probe.

[0096] The disclosed primers and probes can be included within additional and/or alternative multiplex assays. For example, a 5-plex assay can include at least two SARS-CoV-2-specific probes (e.g., for N protein, S protein, and/or ORFlab amplicons). The probes can be associated with different dye channels or can share the same dye channel. In some embodiments, detection between CoV-2 N Protein and S Protein genomic sequences is not distinguished. In some embodiments, detection between CoV-2 N Protein genomic sequence and S Protein genomic sequence is distinguished. Additional, second, third, and/or fourth, dye channels can be associated with, for example, Flu A-specific and/or Flu B-specific probes and/or RSV A-specific and/or RSV B-specific probes. A positive control probe can additionally be included in some embodiments. As a particular, non-limiting example, regions within the genes encoding SARS-CoV-2 N protein, S protein, and/or ORFlab may be detected using a single dye channel (e.g., VIC) while combined assays for Influenza Type A and/or B and/or for RSV Type A and/or B are simultaneously detected in the same reaction using one or more different dye channels (e.g., FAM, ABY and/or JUN). In one embodiment, at least two SARS-CoV-2-specific detectable primers and/or probes can be associated with a single dye channel, such as by labeling with a VIC dye, and optionally, a Flu A-specific detectable primer and/or probe can be associated with second dye channel, such as by labeling with an ABY dye and/or a Flu B-specific detectable primer and/or probe can be associated with a third dye channel, such as by labeling with a FAM dye. In another embodiment, assays for SARS-CoV-2 and/or Influenza Type A and/or Type B can be further combined with RSV A and RSV B detectable primers and/or probes to include detection through yet another dye channel, such as through respective association a JUN dye. Optionally, a fifth channel can be reserved for an MS2 or RNase P positive control primers and/or probes associated with an ALEXA (AF) dye.

Compositions, Kits, and Methods for Detection of Multiple Respiratory Tract Pathogens



[0097] The compositions, kits, and methods for detecting SARS-CoV-2, described above and elsewhere herein, can form the basis of an assay for detecting multiple respiratory tract pathogens. For example, the qPCR assays described above (whether singleplex or multiplex) can be included as a component of a panel of qPCR assays or as a multiplex assay for detecting a plurality of pathogens from a subject sample.

[0098] In some embodiments, a panel of qPCR assays includes one or more assays for detecting SARS-CoV-2 in addition to one or more assays for detecting Flu A and/or Flu B viruses. In some embodiments, the panel of qPCR assays includes one or more assays for SARS-CoV-2 in addition to one or more assays for RSV A and/or RSV B. In some embodiments, the panel of qPCR assays includes one or more assays for SARS-CoV-2 in addition to one or more assays for Flu A and/or Flu B viruses, and one or more assays for RSV A and/or RSV B. In some embodiments, the panel of qPCR assays includes at least two assays for SARS-CoV-2 in addition to at least two assays for Flu A and/or Flu B viruses, and at least two assays for RSV A and/or RSV B.

[0099] It should be appreciated that the panel of qPCR assays can be performed in a singleplex format, allowing the probes for each qPCR target to be shared between the various assays. Alternatively, the qPCR assays can be performed in a multiplex format with each component of the panel being associated with a different probe whose emission spectra do not substantially overlap (i.e., the emission spectra of each probe is uniquely identifiable from the other probes).

[0100] In some embodiments, the panel of qPCR assays includes one or more assays for SARS-CoV-2 in addition to one or more assays for a control sequence. In some embodiments, the control sequence is an RNase P sequence and/or a MS2 Phage sequence. In some embodiments, the panel of qPCR assays includes one or more assays comprising any of the forward primers, reverse primers, and probe sequences listed in SEQ ID NO:4 - SEQ ID NO:2533. It should be appreciated that qPCR and RT-qPCR methods are known to those having skill in the art. Nevertheless, particular embodiments are provided in the Examples illustrating use of qPCR assays for detecting SARS-CoV-2, Flu A and/or Flu B, and/or RSV A, and/or RSV B targets.

[0101] In some embodiments, the panel of qPCR assays includes four or more assays comprising any of the forward primers, reverse primers, and probe sequences listed in SEQ ID NO:4 - SEQ ID NO:2533. In some embodiments, the panel of qPCR assays includes six or more assays comprising any of the forward primers, reverse primers and probes sequences listed in SEQ ID NO:4 - SEQ ID NO:2533. Each qPCR assay can include a forward primer and a reverse primer. Optionally, the assay further includes a probe, which can be a hydrolysis probe. In some embodiments, each qPCR assay includes at least one forward primer, at least one reverse primer, and at least one probe selected from any of those listed in SEQ ID NO:4 - SEQ ID NO:257, SEQ ID NO:267 - SEQ ID NO:510, and SEQ ID NO:520 - SEQ ID NO:2533, respectively.

[0102] In some embodiments, the panel of qPCR assays includes at least one qPCR assay for detecting SARS-CoV-2, plus at least one qPCR assay for detecting at least one assay for a respiratory microorganism listed in Table 3A, below. In some embodiments, the panel of qPCR assays includes at least one qPCR assay for detecting SARS-CoV-2, plus at least one qPCR assay for detecting each of the microorganisms listed in Table 3A. In some embodiments, the assay detects two or more (e.g., 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, etc.) of the targets of Table 3A. In some embodiments, the assay detects at least two targets within the SARS-CoV-2 genome as well an internal positive control (see, e.g., Table 3B), such as human RNase P. In some embodiments, the assay simultaneously detects every target of Table 3A in addition to one or more positive control, such as for RNase P and/or 18S rRNA and/or an exogenous control like bacteriophage MS2 (see, e.g., Table 3A). In some embodiments, the panel of assays is formatted as an open array card. In other embodiments, the panel of assays is formatted as an open array plate. In some embodiments, the panel of assays are used in a plurality of singleplex assays. In some other embodiments, the panel of assays are used in one or more multiplex assays. In some embodiments, the panel of assays includes pooled assays. In some embodiments, the panel of assays includes dried down and/or lyophilized assays.
Table 3A. List of targets and assays for respiratory tract microbiota (RTM)
Target organismAssay nameNucleic acidAssay ID (Thermo Fisher Scientific)
Bacteria  
Bordetella bronchiseptica / parapertussis / pertussis Bordetella DNA Ba06439624_s1
Bordetella pertussis B. pertussis DNA Ba06439623_s1
Chlamydophila pneumoniae C. pneumoniae DNA Ba06439616_s1
Haemophilus influenzae H. influenzae DNA Ba06439625_s1
Klebsiella pneumoniae K. pneumoniae DNA Ba04932083_s1
Legionella pneumophila L. pneumophila DNA Ba06439617_s1
Mycoplasma pneumoniae M. pneumoniae DNA Ba06439620_s1
Staphylococcus aureus S. aureus DNA Ba04646259_s1
Streptococcus pneumoniae S. pneumoniae DNA Ba06439619_s1
Bordetella holmesii B. holmesii DNA Ba06439621_s1
Coxiella burnetii C. burnetii DNA Ba06439618_s1
Moraxella catarrhalis M. catarrhalis DNA Ba06439622_s1
Virus   
Adenovirus AdV 1of2 DNA Vi99990001_po
Adenovirus AdV 2of2 DNA Vi99990002_po
Human Bocavirus HBoV DNA Vi99990003_po
Human Coronavirus 229E CoV 229E RNA Vi06439671 s1
Human Coronavirus HKU1 CoV_HKU1 RNA Vi06439674_s1
Human Coronavirus NL63 CoV NL63 RNA Vi06439673_s1
Human Coronavirus OC43 CoV OC43 RNA Vi06439646_s1
Human Enterovirus (pan assay) EV_pan RNA Vi06439631_s1
Human Enterovirus D68 EV D68 RNA Vi06439669_s1
Human Metapneumovirus (hMPV) hMPV RNA Vi99990004_po
Human Parainfluenza virus 1 hPIV1 RNA Vi06439642_s1
Human Parainfluenza virus 2 hPIV2 RNA Vi06439672_s1
Human Parainfluenza virus 3 hPIV3 RNA Vi06439670_s1
Human Parainfluenza virus 4 hPIV4 RNA Vi99990005_po
Human Respiratory Syncytial Virus A (RSVA) RSVA RNA Vi99990014_po
Human Respiratory Syncytial Virus B (RSVB) RSVB RNA Vi99990015_po
Human Rhinovirus 1/2 RV 1of2 RNA Vi99990016_po
Human Rhinovirus 2/2 RV 2of2 RNA Vi99990017_po
Human herpesvirus 3 (HHV3 - Varicella zoster Virus) HHV3 DNA Vi06439647_s1
Human herpesvirus 4 (HHV4 - Epstein-Barr Virus) HHV4 DNA Vi06439675_s1
Human herpesvirus 5 (HHV5-Cytomegalovirus) HHV5 DNA Vi06439643_s1
Human herpesvirus 6 (HHV6) HHV6 DNA Vi06439627_s1
Influenza A Flu_A_pan RNA Vi99990011_po
Influenza A/H1-2009 Flu A HI RNA Vi99990009_po
Influenza A/H3 Flu A H3 RNA Vi99990010_po
Influenza B Flu_B_pan RNA Vi99990012_po
Human Parechovirus HPeV RNA Vi99990006_po
Measles virus Measles RNA Vi99990013_po
Middle East Respiratory Syndrome coronavirus (MERS) MERS CoV RNA Vi06439644_s1
Mumps virus Mumps RNA Vi06439657_s1
Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome coronavirus (SARS) SARS CoV RNA Vi06439634_s1
Fungus      
Pneumocystis jirovecii P. jirovecii DNA Fn06439626_s1
Table 3B: Assays for respiratory tract microbiota controls
Control nameAssay nameNucleic acidAssay ID (Thermo Fisher Scientific)
TaqMan Universal Extraction Control Organism (B. atrophaeus) B. atrophaeus DNA Ba06596576_s1
TaqMan® Universal RNA Spike In/Reverse Transcription (Xeno) Control Xeno RNA Ac00010014_a1
Human RNase P RPPH1 gene RPPH1 DNA Hs04930436 g1


[0103] In some embodiments, a panel of different qPCR assays can be used to test for multiple strains or types of pathogens in addition to SARS-CoV-2, including, but not limited to, other viral pathogens, such as Flu A and/or Flu B, and RSV Type A and/or Type B, bacterial pathogens, and/or fungal pathogens. In some embodiments, the panel of qPCR assays can be used simultaneously to test a single subject sample or a pooled sample comprising multiple subject samples, with each assay run in parallel in an array format. Optionally, different qPCR assays specific for each of the target nucleic acids can be plated into individual wells of a single array or multi-well plate, similar to, for example, a TaqMan Array Card (e.g., sold by Thermo Fisher Scientific under Catalog Nos. 4346800 and 4342265) or a MicroAmp multi-well reaction plate (e.g., sold by Thermo Fisher Scientific under Catalog Nos. 4346906, 4366932, 4306737, 4326659 and N8010560). Optionally, the different qPCR assays present in different wells of an array or plate can be dried or freeze-dried in situ and the array or plate can be stored or shipped prior to use. In some embodiments the array-formatted assays can be run as a singleplex or as a multiplex assay.

[0104] An exemplary array card disclosed herein can include some or all of the assays present in the TaqMan Array Respiratory Tract Microbiota Comprehensive Card (sold by Thermo Fisher Scientific under Catalog No. A41238), particularly those directed to identifying viral, bacterial, or fungal microbes from a sample, along with one or more assays for detecting SARS-CoV-2, as disclosed herein, present in at least one well of the array. The SARS-CoV-2 detection assays can include at least one primer or probe selected from SEQ ID NO:4 - SEQ ID NO:2533.

[0105] In some embodiments, the panel includes assays for other circulating coronavirus strains, including but not limited to the 229E, KHU1, NL63, and OC43 coronaviruses. The panel/array card can include any number of individual assays, but in some embodiments, the panel/array card includes 48 separate assays, at least one of which is a control assay (e.g., RNase P, 18S rRNA, or the like). In some embodiments, the disclosed methods include using the panel to profile respiratory microorganisms present in a sample taken from an organism (e.g., human) and determining the profile of respiratory microbiota present in the organism's sample. Optionally, the disclosed methods can include diagnosing an infection present in an organism (e.g., human) from which a sample is taken.

[0106] In any of the foregoing embodiments, it should be appreciated that the compositions, kits, and methods for detecting viral nucleic acid can be implemented at or be included within a "point-of-service" (POS) system. Additionally, or alternatively, samples may be collected and/or analyzed at a "point-of-care" (POC) location. In some embodiments, analysis at a POC location typically does not require specialized equipment and has rapid and easy-to-read visual results. In some embodiments, analysis can be performed in the field, in a home setting, and/or by a lay person not having specialized skills. In certain embodiments, for example, the analysis of a small-volume clinical sample may be completed using a POS system in a short period of time (e.g., within hours or minutes).

[0107] Optionally, a "point of service" (POS) or a "point of service system," is performed at a location, using a system at that location, which is capable of providing a service (e.g. testing, monitoring, treatment, diagnosis, guidance, sample collection, verification of identity (ID verification), and other services) at or near the site or location of the subject. A service may be a medical service or may be a non-medical service. In some situations, a POS system provides a service at a predetermined location, such as a subject's home, school, or work, or at a grocery store, a drug store, a community center, a clinic, a doctor's office, a hospital, an outdoor triage tent, a makeshift hospital, a border check point, etc. A POS system can include one or more point of service devices, such as a portable virus/pathogen detector. In some embodiments, a POS system is a point of care system. In some embodiments, the POS system is suitable for use by non-specialized workers or personnel, such as nurses, police officers, civilian volunteers, or the subject herself.

[0108] In certain embodiments, the assays described herein can be performed at a "point of care" (POC), e.g., a location at which medical-related care (e.g. treatment, testing, monitoring, diagnosis, counseling, etc.) is provided. A POC may be, e.g. at a subject's home, work, or school, or at a grocery store, a community center, a drug store, a doctor's office, a clinic, a hospital, an outdoor triage tent, a makeshift hospital, a border check point, etc. A POC system is a system which may aid in, or may be used in, providing such medical-related care, and may be located at or near the site or location of the subject or the subject's health care provider (e.g. subject's home, work, or school, or at a grocery store, a community center, a drug store, a doctor's office, a clinic, a hospital, etc.).

[0109] In embodiments, such a system is a point-of-service system (POS system), wherein a POS system is located at a point of service location. In embodiments, a POS system is located at a point of service location and is configured to accept a clinical sample obtained from a subject at the POS location. In embodiments, a POS system is located at a point of service location and is configured to accept a clinical sample obtained from a subject at the POS location, and is further configured to analyze the clinical sample at the POS location. In embodiments, the clinical sample is a small volume clinical sample. In embodiments, the clinical sample is analyzed in a short period of time. In embodiments, the short period of time is determined with respect to the time at which sample analysis began. In embodiments, the short period of time is determined with respect to the time at which the sample was inserted into a device for the analysis of the sample. In embodiments, the short period of time is determined with respect to the time at which the sample was obtained from the subject.

[0110] In some embodiments, a POS can include the amplification-based methods, compositions and kits disclosed herein, including any of the described assays and/or assay panels. Such assays are contemplated for use with both thermal cycling amplification workflows and protocols, such as in PCR, as well as isothermal amplification workflows and protocols, such as in LAMP.

[0111] In some embodiments, a POS or a POC comprises self-collection of a biological sample, such as a nasal swab or a saliva sample. In some embodiments, the self-collection may comprise the use of a self-collection kit and/or device, such as a swab or a tube. In some embodiments, the self-collection kit comprises instructions for use, including collection instructions, sample preparation or storage instructions, and/or shipping instructions. For example, the self-collection kit and/or device may be used by an individual, such as lay person, not having specialized skills or medical expertise. In some embodiments, self-collection may be performed by the subject themselves or by any another individual in proximity to the subject, such as but not limited to a parent, a care giver, a teacher, a friend, or other family member.

[0112] The POS/POC implementations can beneficially provide a convenient way to monitor and/or detect individuals who may be infected by any of the viruses sought by the disclosed kits and methods. This includes, for example, screening for asymptomatic individuals (e.g., those individuals who are infected with SARS-CoV-2 and who may be shedding infectious virions prior to the presentation of the hallmark symptoms associated with respiratory tract infections (e.g., fever, coughing, malaise). Once detected, the infected individuals can be quarantined to prevent further spread of the infection. Additionally, or alternatively, the individual can be provided appropriate medical care, which in some embodiments can be initiated directly at the POC facility and/or following notification of a healthcare professional by the POS system/POC facility.

[0113] The disclosed kits and methods for detecting viral sequences beneficially provides companies and/or venues that are decentralized from hospitals and/or traditional clinical laboratory services with the ability to quickly screen samples on site and to take action where appropriate and with only those individuals where action should be taken. For example, spectators of a sporting event may arrive at the corresponding venue in advance of the event where they can be screened for SARS-CoV-2 (in addition to any other disclosed virus). Those spectators who test negative may then enter the venue and may not be required to practice social distancing or to wear personal protective equipment, such as wearing a face covering. On the other hand, those spectators who test positive can be rejected entry and directed to a healthcare professional, thereby limiting the exposure and/or spread of SARS-CoV-2 (or other virus detected by the disclosed kits and methods disclosed herein) at the venue.

[0114] Because the disclosed kits and methods enable screening of individuals at locations that are decentralized from hospitals and/or traditional clinical laboratory services, the disclosed kits and/or methods can additionally be used to collect accurate epidemiological data from a population more efficiently and more quickly. Such data can be used to identify hot spots within a community and/or behaviors or cohorts that perpetuate the spread of such viral pathogens, which can enable directed or more effective solutions.

[0115] When conducting screenings, as discussed above, the samples from individuals who report to be healthy (i.e., asymptomatic for the hallmarks of SARS-CoV-2, or other respiratory tract, infection) can be combined into a single pooled sample. Because most of the samples are expected to be negative, such methods can beneficially enable the screening of large populations quickly and efficiently, though it may require a minority of people to be retested to determine which sample(s) in a given pooled sample is responsible for the pooled sample testing positive for the presence of the target nucleic acid (e.g., SARS-CoV-2). Less assay resources and/or instruments would be required to process each sample separately and/or the same amount of assay resources and/or instruments can be used to screen a larger number of samples.

[0116] That is, in some embodiments, a sample is obtained from multiple organisms (e.g., a plurality of subjects or patients) and the multiple samples are pooled together to make a single pooled sample for testing. A sample may be obtained from at least two different organisms or individuals for pooling together to form a single pooled sample for testing. In some embodiments, a sample may be obtained from between 2-10 different organisms or individuals and pooled together to form a single sample for testing. In some embodiments, a sample may be obtained from 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, or 10 different organisms or individuals for pooling together to form a single sample for testing. In some embodiments, a sample may be obtained from up to and including 5 different organisms or individuals for pooling together to form a single sample for testing. For example, a sample used for testing, according to the methods and compositions described herein, may comprise a multiplicity of samples obtained from different organisms or individuals (e.g. 2, 3, 4, 5 different individuals) which are combined together to form a single samples used for subsequent detection of a pathogen such as SARS-CoV-2.

[0117] Regardless of whether the samples are pooled or evaluated individually, the inventors have unexpectedly discovered that mixing RT-qPCR reaction volumes can play a critical role in preventing optical mixing and/or the false classification of samples. Accordingly, a step of mixing (e.g., vortexing) the reaction volume prior to RT-qPCR is included in preferred methods for detecting viral sequences disclosed herein. This can include, for example, vortexing the reaction volume (e.g., single tube, array, and/or plate-based). In some embodiments, the reaction volume is vortexed for at least 5 seconds, preferably at least 10 seconds. In some embodiments, the reaction volume is vortexed for about one minute or longer, preferably less than about one minute, or more preferably less than about 30 seconds. In some embodiments, the reaction volume is vortexed for a period of time between 5 seconds and about one minute, preferably between 10 - 30 seconds.

Abbreviated list of defined terms



[0118] To assist in understanding the scope and content of the foregoing and forthcoming written description and appended claims, a select few terms are defined directly below.

[0119] The SARS-CoV-2 virus, also known as 2019-nCoV, is associated with the human respiratory disease COVID-19. The virus isolated from early cases of COVID-19 was provisionally named 2019-nCoV, and the Coronavirus Study Group of the International Committee on Taxonomy of Viruses subsequently designated 2019-nCoV as SARS-CoV-2. For the purposes of this disclosure, the term "SARS-CoV-2" and "2019-nCoV" are considered to refer to the same virus and may be used interchangeably to refer to the etiologic agent for COVID-19. As used herein, these terms are also inclusive of separate variants of SARS-CoV-2, including variant B.1.1.7, variant 501Y.V2, and other variants that may emerge in the future.

[0120] As used herein, the term "kit" refers to any delivery system for delivering materials. In the context of reaction assays, such delivery systems include systems that allow for the storage, transport, or delivery of reaction reagents (e.g., oligonucleotides, enzymes, primer set(s), etc. in the appropriate containers) and/or supporting materials (e.g., buffers, written instructions for performing the assay etc.) from one location to another. For example, kits can include one or more enclosures (e.g., boxes) containing the relevant reaction reagents and/or supporting materials. As used herein, the term "fragmented kit" refers to a delivery system comprising two or more separate containers that each contain a sub-portion of the total kit components. The containers may be delivered to the intended recipient together or separately. For example, a first container may contain an enzyme for use in an assay, while a second container contains oligonucleotides. Indeed, any delivery system comprising two or more separate containers that each contains a sub-portion of the total kit components are included in the term "fragmented kit." In contrast, a "combined kit" refers to a delivery system containing all of the components of a reaction assay in a single container (e.g., in a single box housing each of the desired components). The term "kit" includes both fragmented and combined kits.

[0121] Components described herein may be combined with one another and provided as such a combined kit or fragmented kit, or alternatively each component may be provided separately and utilized as desired by a user. For example, a treatment solution as described herein may be included in a kit or may be provided as a "stand-alone" item (in an appropriate container) for use as desired by the user.

[0122] As used herein, the term "patient" generally refers to any animal, for example a mammal, under the care, observation, or treatment of a healthcare provider, with particular reference to humans under the care of a primary care physician, infectious disease specialist, or other relevant medical professional that may diagnose or treat viral infections. For the purpose of the present application, a "patient" may be interchangeable with an "individual" or "subject." Accordingly, in some embodiments, the subject is a human patient. It should be appreciated, however, that a "subject" does not necessarily have to be a "patient," as that term is described herein. For example, a subject may be an asymptomatic carrier or uninfected person (or animal) being screened for one or more viruses. A "subject" can also be a non-human animal, such as a mink.

[0123] As used herein, the terms "real-time PCR" or "quantitative real-time PCR" or "qPCR" refer to the measurable amplification of nucleic acids via PCR in real time, typically by monitoring fluorescent probes in the reaction volume and enabling the optional quantitation of the PCR product. The terms "real-time" and "real-time continuous" are interchangeable and refer to a method where data collection occurs through periodic monitoring during the course of the amplification reaction. Thus, real-time methods combine amplification and detection into a single step. It should be appreciated that the data collection may occur through periodic monitoring during the course of PCR while the analysis of such data may occur later in time.

[0124] The terms "reverse transcription PCR" or simply "RT-PCR" are intended to include those PCR methods that first transcribe an RNA template (such as a viral RNA genomic template) into complementary DNA (cDNA) using an RNA-dependent DNA polymerase generally referred to as a reverse transcriptase. The cDNA is then used by any of the DNA-dependent DNA polymerases commonly used in PCR methods as a template for PCR amplification of the target nucleic acid sequence. For ease of use within the specification, the terms "RT-PCR" and "RT-qPCR" may be used interchangeably, as it is understood by those having skill in the art that methods and reagents for monitoring amplicon production at the endpoint, such as is done in traditional PCR methods, can be adjusted such that amplicon production can be monitored during and/or between thermal cycles of PCR, such as is done in traditional qPCR methods.

[0125] Further, it should be appreciated that when the term "qPCR" is used herein, it does not necessarily exclude methods and/or kits that include an initial reverse transcription step. As such, any indication within the specification of a "qPCR" method, kit, array, and/or assay for performing qPCR is understood to include the same or similar method, kit, array, and/or assay having an initial reverse transcription step with any attendant reagents (e.g., reverse transcriptase, buffers, dNTPs, salts, etc.).

[0126] Unless defined otherwise, all technical and scientific terms used herein have the same meaning as commonly understood by one of ordinary skill in the art to which the present disclosure pertains.

[0127] Various aspects of the present disclosure, including devices, systems, and methods may be illustrated with reference to one or more embodiments or implementations, which are exemplary in nature. As used herein, the term "exemplary" means "serving as an example, instance, or illustration," and should not necessarily be construed as preferred or advantageous over other embodiments disclosed herein. In addition, reference to an "implementation" of the present disclosure or invention includes a specific reference to one or more embodiments thereof, and vice versa, and is intended to provide illustrative examples without limiting the scope of the invention, which is indicated by the appended claims rather than by the following description.

[0128] As used throughout this application the words "can" and "may" are used in a permissive sense (i.e., meaning having the potential to), rather than the mandatory sense (i.e., meaning must). Additionally, the terms "including," "having," "involving," "containing," "characterized by," as well as variants thereof (e.g., "includes," "has," "involves," "contains," etc.), and similar terms as used herein, including within the claims, shall be inclusive and/or open-ended, shall have the same meaning as the word "comprising" and variants thereof (e.g., "comprise" and "comprises"), and do not exclude additional un-recited elements or method steps, illustratively.

[0129] It will be noted that, as used in this specification and the appended claims, the singular forms "a," "an" and "the" include plural referents unless the context clearly dictates otherwise. Thus, for example, reference to a singular referent (e.g., "widget") includes one, two, or more referents. Similarly, reference to a plurality of referents should be interpreted as comprising a single referent and/or a plurality of referents unless the content and/or context clearly dictate otherwise. For example, reference to referents in the plural form (e.g., "widgets") does not necessarily require a plurality of such referents. Instead, it will be appreciated that independent of the inferred number of referents, one or more referents are contemplated herein unless stated otherwise.

[0130] To facilitate understanding, like reference numerals (i.e., like numbering of components and/or elements) have been used, where possible, to designate like elements common to the figures. Specifically, in the exemplary embodiments illustrated in the figures, like structures, or structures with like functions, will be provided with similar reference designations, where possible. Specific language will be used herein to describe the exemplary embodiments. Nevertheless, it will be understood that no limitation of the scope of the disclosure is thereby intended. Rather, it is to be understood that the language used to describe the exemplary embodiments is illustrative only and is not to be construed as limiting the scope of the disclosure (unless such language is expressly described herein as essential).

[0131] Any headings used herein are for organizational purposes only and are not meant to be used to limit the scope of the description or the claims.

[0132] Various aspects of the present disclosure can be illustrated by describing components that are bound, coupled, attached, connected, and/or joined together. As used herein, the terms "bound," "coupled", "attached", "connected," and/or "joined" are used to indicate either a direct association between two components or, where appropriate, an indirect association with one another through intervening or intermediate components. In contrast, when a component is referred to as being "directly bound," "directly coupled", "directly attached", "directly connected," and/or "directly joined" to another component, no intervening elements are present or contemplated. Furthermore, binding, coupling, attaching, connecting, and/or joining can comprise mechanical and/or chemical association.

EXAMPLES


Example 1: Singleplex Assay for detecting SARS-CoV-2



[0133] An exemplary protocol for detecting SARS-CoV-2 from a biological sample via a singleplex assay was performed., as The assay used primers and FAM-labeled probes for detecting the ORF1ab, as well as additional primers and process for detecting S protein, and N protein coding sequences for SARS-CoV-2 selected from the primers and probes disclosed herein. The assay also used general-purpose components (e.g., master mix and other non-oligonucleotide components) from TaqMan 2019-nCoV Assay Kit (Thermo Fisher Scientific, Catalog No. A47532). An optional VIC-labeled internal control directed to RNase P was also included. In a separate kit, the same primers/probes were included and used as positive controls to detect the target sequences from a synthetic DNA construct encoding the target sequences for ORFlab, S protein, N protein, and RNase P.

[0134] The total nucleic acid content was isolated from samples collected via nasopharyngeal swab, nasopharyngeal aspirate, or bronchoalveolar lavage using the MagMAX Viral/Pathogen Nucleic Acid Isolation Kit (sold by Thermo Fisher Scientific under Cat. No. A42356) in accordance with the instructions provided therewith.

[0135] For each assay, the components in Table 4 were combined for the number of reactions, plus 10% overage:
Table 4. RT-qPCR Reaction Mix
ComponentVolume / reaction
RT-qPCR Master Mix, CG (4X) 6.25 µL
2019 nCoV TaqMan Assay (20X) (FAM) 1.25 µL
TaqMan RNase P Assay, VIC dye/QSY assay (20X) 1.25 µL
Nuclease-free water 11.25 µL
Total Reaction Mix Volume 20.00 µL


[0136] The reaction mixes were vortexed for about 10-30 seconds and centrifuged briefly. For each reaction, the components in Table 5, below, were combined in a MicroAmp Optical 96-Well Reaction Plate (0.2 mL/well):
Table 5. RT-qPCR Reactions
ComponentVolume / reaction
Reaction Mix (see Table 4) 20.00 µL
  • Nucleic acid sample or 5.00 µL
  • 1 µL 2019-nCoV Control construct + 4 µL PCR-grade water or
  • No template control (5 µL PCR-grade water)
Total Reaction Volume 25.00 µL


[0137] The plate was sealed with a MicroAmp Optical Adhesive Film and vortexed briefly to mix the contents. The plate was centrifuged briefly to collect the contents at the bottom of the wells. The plate was loaded into a 7500 Real-Time PCR Instrument and the protocol in either Table 6 or Table 7 was run, depending on the respective RT-qPCR Master Mix used to create the reaction mix.
Table 6. RT-qPCR Protocol using TaqPath 1-Step RT-qPCR Master Mix
RT-qPCR Protocol TaqPath 1-Step RT-qPCR Master Mix
StepStage# of cyclesTemp.Time
UNG incubation 1 1 25°C 2 min
Reverse transcriptiont 2 1 50°C 15 min
Polymerase activation 3 1 95°C 2 min
Amplification 4 40 95°C 3 sec
60°C 30 sec
Preferably any temperature between 48°C - 55°C.
RT inactivation, initial denaturation, and activation of DNAP.
Table 7. RT-qPCR Protocol using TaqMan Fast Virus 1-Step Master Mix
RT-qPCR Protocol TaqMan Fast Virus 1-Step Master Mix
StepStage# of cyclesTemp.Time
Reverse transcription 1 1 50°C 5 min
RT inactivation/initial Denaturation 2 1 95°C 20 sec
Amplification 3 40 95°C 3 sec
60°C 30 sec
Preferably any temperature between 48°C - 55°C.


[0138] The resulting data were analyzed using the included 7500 Software v2.3 because this program has updated algorithms with improved sensitivity for detecting low-copy samples. The analysis was performed using the Auto Baseline and Auto Threshold analysis settings of the aforementioned software. For each plate, the control reactions were confirmed to perform as expected (i.e., the no template control had an undetermined Ct value and the positive control had a Ct value less than or equal to 30).

[0139] The Ct value for each individual assay was also analyzed in accordance with Table 8.
Table 8. Individual assay results guide
2019-nCoV assay (FAM)RNase P assay (VIC)Interpreted Result
Ct < 37 Any Value Positive.
37 ≤ Ct < 40 Any Value Inconclusive. Repeat the test.
Ct= 40 or undetermined Ct < 40 Negative.


[0140] The results for each tested sample was interpreted to have SARS-CoV-2 RNA present if either (i) any two of the three 2019-nCoV assays were positive or (ii) any one of the 2019-nCoV assays were positive in two different samples collected from the same subject. SARS-CoV-2 RNA was not present in the sample if all three of the 2019-nCoV assays were negative.

[0141] Exemplary results illustrating amplification plots and associated standard curves for ORFlab are provided in FIGs. 2A and 2B, respectively. Similarly, an amplification plot and associated standard curve for S protein are provided in FIGs. 2C and 2D, respectively, and an amplification plot and associated standard curve for N protein are provided in FIGs. 2E and 2F, respectively.

Example 2: Multiplex Assay for detecting SARS-CoV-2



[0142] An exemplary protocol for detecting SARS-CoV-2 from a biological sample via a multiplex assay was performed.. The assay kit included primers and FAM-labeled probes for detecting ORFlab (SEQ ID NOs: 160, 468 and 1049, respectively), primers and ABY-labeled probes for detecting S protein (SEQ ID NOs: 100, 337 and 864, respectively), and primers and VIC-labeled probes for detecting N protein (SEQ ID NOs: 211, 501and 833, respectively) coding sequences for SARS-CoV-2. A JUN-labeled internal positive control directed to either endogenous RNase P or an exogenous MS2 RNA template was also included. In a separate kit, the same primers/probes were included and used as positive controls to detect the target sequences from a synthetic DNA construct encoding the target sequences for ORFlab, S protein, N protein, and RNase P/MS2 RNA. The remaining amplification reagents were obtained from the TaqPath COVID-19 Combo kit (Thermo Fisher Scientific, Catalog No. A47814).

[0143] The total nucleic acid content was isolated from samples collected via nasopharyngeal swab, nasopharyngeal aspirate, or bronchoalveolar lavage using the MagMAX Viral/Pathogen Nucleic Acid Isolation Kit (sold by Thermo Fisher Scientific under Cat. No. A42356) in accordance with the instructions provided therewith.

[0144] For each assay, the components in Table 9 were combined for the number of reactions, plus 10% overage:
Table 9. RT-qPCR Reaction Mix
ComponentVolume / reaction
TaqPath 1-Step Multiplex Master Mix, CG (4X) 6.25 µL
nCoV Multiplex TaqMan Assay (20X) 1.25 µL
Internal positive control template 1.00 µl
Nuclease-free water 11.50 µL
Total Reaction Mix Volume 20.00 µL


[0145] The reaction mixes were vortexed for about 10-30 seconds and centrifuged briefly. For each reaction, the components in Table 10, below, were combined in a MicroAmp Optical 96-Well Reaction Plate (0.2 mL/well):
Table 10. RT-qPCR Reactions
ComponentVolume / reaction
Reaction Mix (see Table 4) 20.00 µL
  • Nucleic acid sample or  
  • 1 µL 2019-nCoV Control construct + 4 µL PCR-grade water or 5.00 µL
  • No template control (5 µL PCR-grade water)  
Total Reaction Volume 25.00 µL


[0146] The plate was sealed with a MicroAmp Optical Adhesive Film and vortexed briefly to mix the contents. The plate was centrifuged briefly to collect the contents at the bottom of the wells. reaction mixes were vortexed for about 10-30 seconds) and centrifuged briefly. The plate was loaded into a QuantStudio 5 Real-Time PCR System and the protocol in Table 11 was run.
Table 11. RT-qPCR Protocol for Multiplex Assay
StepStage# of cyclesTemp.Time
UNG incubation 1 1 25°C 2 min
Reverse transcription 2 1 50°C 15 min
Polymerase activation 3 1 95°C 2 min
Amplification 4 40 95°C 3 sec
60°C 30 sec
Preferably any temperature between 48°C - 55°C.
RT inactivation, initial denaturation, and activation of DNAP.


[0147] The resulting data were analyzed using the QuantStudio Design and Analysis Software v1.5.1 included with the QuantStudio 5 Real-Time PCR System because this program has updated algorithms with improved sensitivity for detecting low-copy samples. For each plate, the control reactions were confirmed to perform as expected (i.e., the no template control had an undetermined Ct value and the positive control had a Ct value less than or equal to 30).

[0148] The Ct value for each individual assay was also analyzed in accordance with Table 8.
Table 12. Individual assay multiplex assay results guide
 Ct < 3737 ≤ Ct < 40Ct = 40 or undetermined
ORFlab (FAM) Positive Repeat test Negative
N protein (VIC) Positive Repeat test Negative
S protein (ABY) Positive Repeat test Negative
Pos. Control (JUN) Positive Positive Negative


[0149] The results for each tested sample was interpreted to have SARS-CoV-2 RNA present if either (i) any two of ORF1ab, S protein, or N protein were positive or (ii) any one of ORF1ab, S protein, or N protein were positive in two different samples collected from the same subject. SARS-CoV-2 RNA was not present in the sample if all three of ORFlab, S protein, and N protein were negative.

Example 3: Robustness Testing of SARS-CoV-2 Detection Assays



[0150] To ensure the specificity observed when performing the singleplex and multiplex assays described in Examples 1 and 2, the robustness of each assay was tested based on RT-qPCR protocol, qPCR instrument, and RT-qPCR master mix used. Exemplary results shown in FIGs. 3A-3C illustrate robust assay performance under both the 7500 Standard Protocol and the 7500 Fast Protocol and indicate that either protocol can be used effectively to identify samples with SARS-CoV-2 RNA.

[0151] The robustness of assay performance between qPCR instruments was also confirmed. As shown in FIGs. 4A-4C, the disclosed SARS-CoV-2 assays are likely to be effective in identifying SARS-CoV-2 RNA within a sample regardless of whether the 7500 Instrument or the QuantStudio 5 system is used.

[0152] Although assay robustness was not predicted to vary with respect to the type of master mix used, the results shown in FIGs. 4A-4C were specific to assays using TaqMan Fast Virus 1-Step Master Mix. Thus, assay robustness with respect to master mix was also tested. As shown in FIGs. 5A-5C, both the TaqPath 1-Step Master Mix and the Fast Virus 1-Step Master Mix show robust assay performance run on the Quant Studio 5 instrument, making either master mix effective for identifying samples containing SARS-CoV-2 RNA.

[0153] A summary of these experiments is shown in Table 13, below, indicating that the disclosed assays are robust enough to identify samples having SARS-CoV-2 RNA regardless of the qPCR master mix, qPCR protocol, or qPCR instrument used.
Table 13. Summary of assay robustness survey
TargetApplied Biosystems InstrumentApplied Biosystems Master MixSlopeR2Efficiency
ORFlab 7500 Real-Time PCR System TaqMan Fast Virus 1-Step Master Mix (Standard) -3.47 0.998 94.15%
QuantStudio 5 Real-Time PCR System TaqMan Fast Virus 1-Step Master Mix (Standard) -3.321 0.998 100.02%
TaqPath 1-Step RT-qPCR Master Mix, CG -3.385 0.999 97.42%
N protein 7500 Real-Time PCR System TaqMan Fast Virus 1-Step Master Mix (Standard) -3.443 0.999 95.18%
QuantStudio 5 Real-Time PCR System TaqMan Fast Virus 1-Step Master Mix (Standard) -3.417 0.999 96.18%
TaqPath 1-Step RT-qPCR Master Mix, CG -3.324 0.995 99.91 %
S Protein 7500 Real-Time PCR System TaqMan Fast Virus 1-Step Master Mix (Standard) -3.364 0.999 98.26%
QuantStudio 5 Real-Time PCR System TaqMan Fast Virus 1-Step Master Mix (Standard) -3.408 0.997 96.51 %
TaqPath 1-Step RT-qPCR Master Mix, CG -3.319 0.998 100.11%

Example 4: Specificity test of singleplex and multiplex assays for SARS-CoV-2



[0154] Nucleic acids of 22 viruses and bacteria (listed below) were extracted with MagMAX Viral/Pathogen Ultra Nucleic Acid Isolation Kit (sold by Thermo Fisher Scientific under Catalog No. A42356) on KingFisher and used for this test. Extracted RNA and DNA were pre-amplified with TaqPath 1-Step RT-qPCR Master Mix, CG and a PreAmp pool containing primers for both SARS-CoV-2 and MEGAPLEX PREAMP PRIMERS, RTM (sold by Thermo Fisher Scientific Catalog No. A41374). Pre-amplification was carried out using the thermal cycling protocol of described in Table 14 below.
Table 14. Pre-amplification protocol
StepStage# of cyclesTemp.Time
UNG incubation 1 1 25°C 2 min
Reverse transcription 2 1 50°C 30 min
Polymerase activation 3 1 95°Ct 2 min
Amplification 4 14 95°C 15 sec
60°C 2 min
Denaturation 5 1 99°C 10 min
Preferably any temperature between 48°C - 55°C.
RT inactivation, initial denaturation, and activation of DNAP.


[0155] The product of the PreAMP reaction was diluted in a 1:10 ratio with water (preferably RT-PCR grade water), and 5 µL of the diluted PreAmp reaction was added to a 25 µL reaction volume for singleplex and multiplex reactions containing RT-PCR enzymes and assay reagents. The recipe for singleplex reactions is provide in Table 15, and the recipe for multiplex reactions is provided in Table 16.

[0156] 5 µL of diluted PreAmp reaction (i.e., sample), and 11 µL of water (preferably RT-PCR grade water). Reactions were run on QS5 instrument following recommended protocols of respective master mixes. Three replicates were performed for each sample.
Table 15. RT-qPCR Mix for singleplex reactions
ComponentVolume / reaction
TaqPath 1-Step Multiplex Master Mix, CG (4X) 6.25 µL
SARS-CoV-2 viral gene singleplex assay (20X) 1.25 µL
RNase P positive control assay (20X) 1.25 µL
Nuclease-free water 11.25 µL
Total Reaction Mix Volume 20.00 µL
Table 16. RT-qPCR Mix for multiplex reactions
ComponentVolume / reaction
TaqPath 1-Step Multiplex Master Mix, (No ROX) 6.25 µL
SARS-CoV-2 viral gene multiplex assay (20X) 1.25 µL
Internal positive control template 1.00 µL
Nuclease-free water 11.50 µL
Total Reaction Mix Volume 20.00 µL


[0157] The reaction mixes were each vortexed for about 10-30 seconds and centrifuged briefly. The preamplified and diluted samples for each of 22 viruses and bacteria were used for specificity testing. All organisms were obtained from ZeptoMetrix with exception of Coronavirus strain HKU1, which was a clinical isolate. For each reaction mixture and genomic sample to be tested, the components in Table 17, below, were combined within a MicroAmp Optical 96-Well Reaction Plate (0.2 mL/well) in triplicate:
Table 17. RT-qPCR Reactions
ComponentVolume / reaction
Reaction Mix (see Tables 15 and 16) 20.00 µL
  • Nucleic acid sample or  
  • 1 µL 2019-nCoV Control construct + 4 µL PCR-grade water or 5.00 µL
  • No template control (5 µL PCR-grade water)  
Total Reaction Volume 25.00 µL


[0158] Results: None of the 22 organisms tested show cross reactivity to either singleplex or multiplex assays for SARS-CoV-2 detection, as summarized in Table 18 below. Thus, the assays are specific.
Table 18. Specificity test results for 2019-nCoV singleplex and multiplex assays
 Amplification Detected (singleplex assay | multiplex assay)
Sample TestedORF1abN ProteinS ProteinMultiplex control
Coronavirus 229E 0 of 3 | 0 of 3 0 of 3 | 0 of 3 0 of 3 | 0 of 3 N/A | 3 of 3
Coronavirus HKU 0 of 3 | 0 of 3 0 of 3 | 0 of 3 0 of 3 | 0 of 3 N/A | 3 of 3
Coronavirus NL63 0 of 3 | 0 of 3 0 of 3 | 0 of 3 0 of 3 | 0 of 3 N/A | 3 of 3
Coronavirus OC43 0 of 3 | 0 of 3 0 of 3 | 0 of 3 0 of 3 | 0 of 3 N/A | 3 of 3
Flu A (H3) 0 of 3 | 0 of 3 0 of 3 | 0 of 3 0 of 3 | 0 of 3 N/A | 3 of 3
Flu A (H1-2009) 0 of 3 | 0 of 3 0 of3 | 0 of 3 0 of 3 | 0 of 3 N/A | 3 of 3
Flu B (Pan) 0 of 3 | 0 of 3 0 of 3 | 0 of 3 0 of 3 | 0 of 3 N/A | 3 of 3
RSV A 0 of 3 | 0 of 3 0 of 3 | 0 of 3 0 of 3 | 0 of 3 N/A | 3 of 3
RSV B 0 of 3 | 0 of 3 0 of 3 | 0 of 3 0 of 3 | 0 of 3 N/A | 3 of 3
Rhinovirus 0 of 3 | 0 of 3 0 of 3 | 0 of 3 0 of 3 | 0 of 3 N/A | 3 of3
Human parainfluenza virus 1 0 of 3 | 0 of 3 0 of 3 | 0 of 3 0 of 3 | 0 of 3 N/A | 3 of 3
Human parainfluenza virus 2 0 of 3 | 0 of 3 0 of 3 | 0 of 3 0 of 3 | 0 of 3 N/A | 3 of 3
Human parainfluenza virus 3 0 of 3 | 0 of 3 0 of 3 | 0 of 3 0 of 3 | 0 of 3 N/A | 3 of 3
Human parainfluenza virus 4 0 of 3 | 0 of 3 0 of 3 | 0 of 3 0 of 3 | 0 of 3 N/A | 3 of 3
Enterovirus (Pan) 0 of 3 | 0 of 3 0 of 3 | 0 of 3 0 of 3 | 0 of 3 N/A | 3 of 3
Enterovirus (D68) 0 of 3 | 0 of 3 0 of 3 | 0 of 3 0 of 3 | 0 of 3 N/A | 3 of 3
Human metapneumovirus 0 of 3 | 0 of 3 0 of 3 | 0 of 3 0 of 3 | 0 of 3 N/A | 3 of 3
Adenovirus 0 of 3 | 0 of 3 0 of 3 | 0 of 3 0 of 3 | 0 of 3 N/A | 3 of 3
Mycoplasma pneumoniae 0 of 3 | 0 of 3 0 of 3 | 0 of 3 0 of 3 | 0 of 3 N/A | | 3 of 3
Legionella pneomophila 0 of 3 | 0 of 3 0 of 3 | 0 of 3 0 of 3 | 0 of 3 N/A | | 3 of 3
Bordetella pertussis 0 of 3 | 0 of 3 0 of 3 | 0 of 3 0 of 3 | 0 of 3 N/A | | 3 of 3
Bordetella parapertussis 0 of 3 | 0 of 3 0 of 3 | 0 of 3 0 of 3 | 0 of 3 N/A | | 3 of 3
No template control 0 of 3 | 0 of 3 0 of 3 | 0 of 3 0 of 3 | 0 of 3 N/A | | 3 of 3
2019nCoV positive control 0 of 3 | 0 of 3 0 of 3 | 0 of 3 0 of 3 | 0 of 3 N/A | | 3 of 3

Example 5: Mixing RT-PCR reaction plates



[0159] To ensure proper analysis of SARS-CoV-2 research samples, it is essential to mix the RT-qPCR reaction properly by vortexing the plate. Failure to do so can result in Optical Mixing, a phenomenon that is likely to occur when the sample volume exceeds 20% of the PCR reaction volume. Optical Mixing can lead to RTPCR baseline instability, resulting in QC failure of entire plates and potential false classification of samples.

Mixing Protocol:



[0160] After master mix, assay, water, samples, and controls were added to the RT-PCR reaction plate, the plate wells were sealed with a MicroAmp Optical Adhesive Film. The MicroAmp Adhesive Film Applicator was used to make sure all wells were sealed completely. The MicroAmp Optical Adhesive Cover uses a pressure- sensitive adhesive backing to adhere the cover to the optical 96- or 384-well plate. Using enough force to activate the pressure-sensitive adhesive will prevent evaporation from the wells.

[0161] The speed of a vortex mixer, such as the Vortex-Genie 2 from Scientific Industries, was set to the highest setting with the activation mode set to "Touch." The vortex mixer was also outfitted with a platform rather than a tube cup.

[0162] The plate was contacted with the vortex mixer and held in contact therewith for 10-15 seconds while allowing the vortex platform to move vigorously and cause the reaction mix to move freely in the wells. Too much or too little pressure applied to the vortex platform reduced mixing efficiency. The plate was moved around during vortexing to ensure that contact with the platform has been made at all four quadrants and the center of the plate for equal time.

Experimental Design:



[0163] In a first set of experiments, two identical 96-well plates were created. A first plate was vortexed for 30 seconds at maximum speed on a Vortex-Genie 2, and the other plate was not mixed at all. Each plate contained triplicate reactions of extracted contrived positive samples and negative samples. Contrived positive samples consisted of pooled nasopharyngeal specimens spiked with SARS-CoV-2 viral RNA at 9X, 3X, or 1X the Limit of Detection (2,250 GCE/mL, 750 GCE/mL and 250 GCE/mL, respectively). Samples were extracted with either the MagMAX Viral/Pathogen Nucleic Acid Isolation Kit and a 400-µL specimen volume or the MagMAX Viral/Pathogen II Nucleic Acid Isolation Kit and a 200-µL specimen volume, and both extraction workflows were run on the same RT-PCR plate.

[0164] In a second set of experiments, two identical 384-well plates were created; one plate was vortexed for 10 seconds at maximum speed on a Vortex-Genie 2, and the other plate was not mixed at all. Each plate contained 48 replicate reactions of extracted SARS-CoV-2 viral RNA at 10 GCE/reaction plus the MS2 Internal Control. RT-PCR runs were performed on an Applied Biosystems QuantStudio 7 Flex system with a 384-well block.

Results:



[0165] The 96-well and 384-well plates that were not mixed demonstrated steep downward slopes in the fluorescent signal during the early cycles of the thermal protocol. By contrast, the 96-well and 384-well plates that were mixed revealed that proper mixing produces flatter baselines for the same conditions. Thus, compared with no mixing, vortexing for 10 - 30 seconds produces flatter baselines irrespective of extraction protocol, plate type, or sample type. Because falling baselines can produce plate failures or inaccurate results, vortex mixing appears important for achieving reliable, specific results.

Example 6: SARS-CoV-2, Flu A/B, RSV Multiplex Assay



[0166] An exemplary protocol for detecting the presence of genomic nucleic acid associated with SARS-CoV-2, Flu A/B, or RSV from a biological sample via a multiplex assay was performed using primers and FAM-labeled probe for detecting target sequences from Flu (Influenza) Types A and B genomes (SEQ ID NOs: 252, 253, 257, 505, 506, 1296 and 1297); primers and VIC-labeled probe for detecting SARS-CoV-2 target sequences from the S gene in SARS-CoV-2 (SEQ ID NOs: 100, 337 and 864), and N protein (SEQ ID NOs: 211, 510 and 833), primers and ABY-labeled probes for detecting target sequences specific for the RSV viral genome (SEQ ID Nos: 254, 255, 507, 508, 1298 and 1299), and primers and JUN-labeled probes for an internal positive control directed to an exogenous MS2 RNA template (SEQ ID NOS: 206, 509 and 1300). The primer of SEQ ID NO: 510 used for this experiment is similar to the primer of SEQ ID NO: 501, but also includes an additional "A" nucleotide residue at the 3' end. The addition of this residue was found to be helpful in reducing artifacts formed during PCR reactions containing certain additional primers and probes.

[0167] In separate wells, the same primers/probes were included and used together with a synthetic positive control construct encoding the target sequences for identifying SARS-CoV-2, Flu (A and B), and RSV.

[0168] The total nucleic acid content was isolated from samples collected via nasopharyngeal swab, nasopharyngeal aspirate, or bronchoalveolar lavage using the MagMAX Viral/Pathogen Nucleic Acid Isolation Kit (sold by Thermo Fisher Scientific under Cat. No. A42356) in accordance with the instructions provided therewith.

[0169] The components in one of Tables 19A-19C were combined to make the RT-PCR Reaction Mix for the total number of reactions, plus 10% overage:
Table 19A. RT-qPCR Reaction Mix
ComponentVolume / reaction
TaqPath 1-Step Multiplex Master Mix, CG (4X) 6.25 µL
Primers and probes 1.25 µL
Total Reaction Mix Volume 7.50 µL
Table 19B. RT-qPCR Reaction Mix
ComponentVolume / reaction
TaqPath 1-Step Multiplex Master Mix, CG (4X) 6.25 µL
Primers and probes 1.25 µL
Nuclease-free Water 7.5 µL
Total Reaction Mix Volume 15.0 µL
Table 19C. RT-qPCR Reaction Mix (400µL sample input volume)
ComponentVolume / reaction
TaqPath 1-Step Multiplex Master Mix, CG (4X) 6.25 µL
Primers and probes 1.25 µL
Nuclease-free Water 12.50 µL
Total Reaction Mix Volume 20.0 µL


[0170] The reaction mixes were vortexed for about 10-30 seconds) and centrifuged briefly. For each reaction, the components in Table 20A-20D, below, were combined in a MicroAmp Optical 96-Well Reaction Plate:
Table 20A. RT-qPCR Reactions (0.2 mL/well)
 Volume / reaction
ComponentRNA SamplePos. ControlNeg. Control
Reaction Mix (see Table 19A) 7.5 µL 7.5 µL 7.5 µL
Purified sample RNA 17.5 µL - -
Diluted TaqMan SARS-CoV-2, Flu A/B, RSV RNA Control - 17.5 µL -
Negative Control (from RNA extraction) - - 17.5 µL
Total Reaction Volume 25.0 µL 25.0 µL 25.0 µL
Table 20B. RT-qPCR Reactions (0.2 mL/well)
 Volume / reaction
ComponentRNA SamplePos. ControlNeg. Control
Reaction Mix (see Table 19A) 7.5 µL 7.5 µL 7.5 µL
Purified sample RNA 17.5 µL - -
Diluted TaqMan SARS-CoV-2, Flu A/B, RSV RNA Control - 2.0 µL -
Nuclease-free Water - 15.5 µL -
Negative Control (from RNA extraction) - - 17.5 µL
Total Reaction Volume 25.0 µL 25.0 µL 25.0 µL
Table 20C. RT-qPCR Reactions (0.2 mL/well)
 Volume / reaction
ComponentRNA SamplePos. ControlNeg. Control
Reaction Mix (see Table 19B) 15.0 µL 15.0 µL 15.0 µL
Purified sample RNA 10.0 µL - -
Diluted TaqMan SARS-CoV-2, Flu A/B, RSV RNA Control - 2.0 µL -
Nuclease-free Water - 8 µL -
Negative Control (from RNA extraction) - - 10.0 µL
Total Reaction Volume 25.0 µL 25.0 µL 25.0 µL
Table 20D. RT-qPCR Reactions (0.4 mL/well)
 Volume / reaction
ComponentRNA SamplePos. ControlNeg. Control
Reaction Mix (see Table 19C) 20.0 µL 20.0 µL 20.0 µL
Purified sample RNA 5 µL - -
Diluted TaqMan SARS-CoV-2, Flu A/B, RSV RNA Control - 2.0 µL -
Nuclease-free Water - 3.0 µL -
Negative Control (from RNA extraction) - - 5.0 µL
Total Reaction Volume 25.0 µL 25.0 µL 25.0 µL


[0171] The plate was sealed with a MicroAmp Optical Adhesive Film and vortexed briefly to mix the contents. The plate was centrifuged briefly to collect the contents at the bottom of the wells. The plate was loaded into a 7500 Real-Time PCR Instrument and the protocol in Table 21 was run.
Table 21. RT-qPCR Protocol for Multi-Pathogen Multiplex Assay
StepStage# of cyclesTemp.Time
UNG incubation 1 1 25°C 2 min
Reverse transcription 2 1 53°C 10 min
Preincubation 3 1 85°C 10 min
Polymerase activation 4 1 95°C 2 min
Amplification 5 46 95°C 3 sec
60°C 30 sec
Preferably any temperature between 48°C - 55°C.


[0172] The results for each tested sample having amplified product in the positive control and no amplified product in the negative control were interpreted to have: (i) SARS-CoV-2 RNA present if the VIC signal was positive, (ii) Flu A/B if the FAM signal was positive, and/or (iii) RSV if the ABY signal was positive.

Example 7



[0173] A 4-plex RT-qPCR assay was developed in 1-tube, for nucleic acid detection of SARS-CoV-2, Flu A, and Flu B viruses along with a process control. This SARS-CoV-2 portion of the 4-plex assay targets both S protein and N protein regions having higher specificity and exhibiting lower risk for mutation. The primers targeting the S protein region were SEQ ID NOs: 100 and 337, with the associated probe of SEQ ID NO: 864. The primers targeting the N protein region were SEQ ID NOs: 211 and 510, with the associated probe of SEQ ID NO: 833. A proprietary bioinformatics pipeline was used to design specific assays for Flu A and Flu B with great coverage. The resulting strain coverage for the primer and probe sets was 99.9% for SARS-CoV-2 with 35,833 high quality complete sequences. The resulting strain coverage for the primer and probe sets for Flu A and Flu B is 6,730/6,854 or 98.2%, and 3,105/3,127 or 99.3%, respectively. Assays were tested with qPCR instruments such as QS5 and 7500 Fast Dx using a modified RT-PCR protocol based on TaqPath COVID-19 Combo Kit (Appendix 2) and using the same master mix, water and dNTPs provided therein.

[0174] DNA, in vitro transcribed RNA, genomic RNA, and viral organism controls are used at different stages of feasibility testing and development. DNA and in vitro transcribed RNA controls include SARS-CoV-2, Flu A and Flu B. Viral RNA and viral organism controls include SARS-CoV-2, genomic RNA, and gamma irradiation inactivated virus Influenza A: H1N1 (Brisbane/59/2007) and H3N2 (Perth/16/2009), and Influenza B: Victoria lineage (Wisconsin/01/2010) and Yamagata lineage (Florida/04/2006).

[0175] PCR thermal cycling protocol was done according to our previous TaqPath COVID-19 Combo Kit with two modifications: (1) a preincubation step (85°C, 10min) was added after RT (preincubation reduces ABY channel's abnormal amplification curves); and (2) the number of cycles was increased from 40 to 46 (increases ΔRn of true amplification above maximum crosstalk level).

Criteria for the analytical validation studies:



[0176] The workflow limit of detection (LoD) will be established as the lowest concentration of GCE of the virus that can be detected ≥ 95% of the time (e.g., ≥ 19/20 replicates).

[0177] Reactivity/inclusivity: 100% of strains tested must by detected by the assay; Strains not detected at 3X LoD will be retested at higher concentrations until 100% hit rate is achieved; 100% of replicates must be positive.

[0178] Interference substance: A substance will be determined to be non-interfering at the tested concentration if 100% of replicates produce the expected results for a given interferent.

[0179] Competitive interference: At least 95% of positive samples at 4X LoD or lower produce a result of Positive in the presence of competitors at 1,000X LoD or higher ΔCt = Mean Combination Ct-Mean Single Target Ct ≤ 1.5 Cycles

[0180] The 4-plex real-time PCR assays can simultaneously detect and differentiate SARS-CoV-2, Flu A, and Flu B viral nucleic acids. In the tested examples, Flu A primers and probe sets were associated with the FAM channel, SARS-CoV-2 N protein and S protein primers and probe sets were associated with the VIC channel, Flu B primers and probe sets were associated with the ABY channel, and the internal control MS2 primers and probe sets were associated with the JUN channel.

[0181] One strain of SARS-CoV-2, two strains of Flu A (one H1N1 and one H3N2) and two strains of Flu B (one Victoria lineage and one Yamagata lineage) were examined for workflow LoD. Viral RNA extraction using MagMAX Viral/Pathogen II (MVP II) Nucleic Acid Isolation Kit and KingFisher Flex 96 Deep Well. RT-qPCR was performed on the 7500 Fast Dx Real-Time PCR system and the QuantStudio 5 Real-Time PCR Instrument. The results from the workflow limits of detection are provided in Table 22 below.
Table 22. Workflow Limits of Detection (LoD)
VirusSubtypeStrainLimit of Detection
SARS-CoV-2 N/A USA-WA1/2020 100 GCE/mL 0.16 TCID50/mL
Flu A (Perth) H3N2 A/Perth/16/2009 200 GCE/mL 0.00249 TCID50/mL
Flu A (Brisbane) H1N1 A/Brisbane/59/2007 500 GCE/mL 0.00159 TCID50/mL
Flu B (Florida) Yamagata B/Florida/04/2006 500 GCE/mL 0.0588 TCID50/mL
Flu B (Wisconsin) Victoria B/Wisconsin/01/2010 1000 GCE/mL 0.00560 TCID50/mL


[0182] The primers and probes used in the 4-plex assay did not cross-react with any of the 41 respiratory pathogens tested and listed in Table 23 below.
Table 23. RT-qPCR Protocol for Multi-Pathogen Multiplex Assay
Bacteria and FungiVirusesPurified DNA
Chlamydia pneumoniae Adenovirus Bacillus anthracis
Bordetella pertussis Enterovirus Leptospira interrogans
Candida albicans Coronavirus 229E Moraxella catarrhalis
Corynebacterium diphtheriae Coronavirus NL63 Mycobacterium tuberculosis
Haemophilus influenzae Coronavirus OC43 Streptococcus pneumoniae
Legionella non- pneumophila Human Metapneumovirus Streptococcus pyogenes
Legionella pneumophila Influenza C virus Coronavirus HKU1
Neisseria elongata MERS-Co V Chlamydia psittaci
Neisseria meningitidis Parainfluenza virus 1 Coxiella burnetii
Pseudomonas aeruginosa Parainfluenza virus 2  
Staphylococcus aureus Parainfluenza virus 3  
Staphylococcus epidermidis Parainfluenza virus 4  
Streptococcus salivarius Parechovirus  
Pneumocystis carinni RSV A  
Mycoplasma pneumoniae RSV B  
  Rhinovirus  
  SARS-CoV  


[0183] Possible interference substances were tested to demonstrate the ability of this 4-plex test to detect each target virus at a low concentration in the presence of potentially interfering substances and to demonstrate that the potential interferents alone do not produce false positive results. Blood, corticosteroid nasal spray, nasal gel, homeopathic allergy relief nasal spray, throat lozenges, Oseltamivir, antibiotic ointment, and systemic antibiotics tested show no interference. Afrin Original nasal spray showed interference at 10% v/v, so it was titrated down to find the concentration at which no inhibition was observed. The maximum, non-inhibitory concentration was 0.6% on both instruments and all viruses tested. The results are summarized in Table 24 below.
Table 24. RT-qPCR Protocol for Multi-Pathogen Multiplex Assay
Potential Interfering SubstanceFinal ConcentrationResult
Mucin 0.1 mg/mL Pass
Blood 1% v/v Pass
Nasal spray 10% v/v Pass
Nasal corticosteroid 5 µg/mL Pass
Nasal gel 1% w/v Pass
Homeopathic allergy relief medicine 10% v/v Pass
Throat lozenges 1% w/v Pass
Oseltamivir phosphate 33 µg/mL Pass
Antibiotic, nasal ointment 5 µg/mL Pass
Systemic Antibiotic 0.6 mg/mL Pass


[0184] A competitive interference study was also performed to assess the ability of the 4-plex SARS-CoV-2, Flu A, and Flu B test to detect each target virus at a low concentration in the presence of another target virus at a high concentration. Competitive interference testing was performed using contrived NP samples with SARS-CoV-2, Flu A, and Flu B with one virus at a concentration less than or equal to three times its LoD and the other tested virus at a concentration greater than or equal to 105 TCID50/mL. A summary of the results is in Table 25 below.
Table 25. Competitive Interference Results
Virus combinationConcentration Passed
SARS-CoV-2lo FluBhi 3X LoD
FluBlo SARS-CoV-2hi 3X LoD
FluAlo FluBhi 3X LoD
FluBlo FluAhi 3X LoD
SARS-CoV-2lo FluAlo FluBlo 3X LoD
SARS-CoV-2lo FluAhi 4X LoD
FluAlo SARS-CoV-2hi 4X LoD

Example 8: Limit of Detection



[0185] The purpose of this study was to establish the Limits of Detection (LoD) for SARS-CoV-2, influenza A, influenza B, RSV A, and RSV B for use on a 96-well real-time PCR platform. The experiment uses primers targeting the S protein and N protein of SARS-CoV-2. The primers targeting the S protein region were SEQ ID NOs: 100 and 337, with the associated probe of SEQ ID NO: 864. The primers targeting the N protein region were SEQ ID NOs: 211 and 510, with the associated probe of SEQ ID NO: 833. The LoD will be established as the lowest number (concentration) of Genomic Copy Equivalents (GCE) of each virus that can be detected at least 95% of the time.

[0186] Individual LoD for each of the viruses detected by the COVID/Flu/RSV test were determined using contrived specimens comprising inactivated SARS-CoV-2 virus and live influenza A and B, and respiratory syncytial viruses spiked at various levels into pooled nasopharyngeal (NP) swab specimens. Inactivated SARS-CoV-2 virus was obtained from BEI Resources (PN NR-52287, LN 70033322). Two strains of live influenza A virus (referred to as Perth and Brisbane, respectively) were obtained from ZeptoMetrix: Influenza A H3N2 (strain A/Perth/16/2009; PN 0810251CF, LN 313219) and Influenza A H1N1 (strain A/Brisbane/59/2007; PN 0810244CF, LN 323919). Two strains of live influenza B virus (referred to as Florida and Wisconsin, respectively) were obtained from ZeptoMetrix: Influenza B Yamagata lineage (strain B/Florida/04/2006; PN 0810255CF, LN 312479) and Influenza B Victoria lineage (strain B/Wisconsin/01/2010; PN 0810241CF, LN 324993). One strain of RSV A virus was obtained from ZeptoMetrix (PN 0810040ACF, LN 324695). One strain of RSV B virus was obtained from ZeptoMetrix (PN 0810480CF, LN 322742). The quantitated GCE/mL values for the stock materials were determined by dPCR, and dilutions were appropriately formulated based on this information.

[0187] Sample extraction was performed using the MagMAX Viral/Pathogen II Nucleic Acid Isolation Kit and KingFisher Flex system. Samples were tested using the COVID/Flu/RSV test with the TaqPath 1-Step Multiplex Master Mix (No ROX) on the Applied Biosystem 7500 Fast Real-Time PCR Instrument. The study was conducted in three phases: a preliminary LoD was determined in Phase I of the study, a refined LoD was determined in Phase II, and the LoD was confirmed in Phase III. A preliminary LoD was determined in Phase I by testing contrived samples with known GCEs at six levels, beginning from sample extraction. Preliminary LoD testing was performed with three replicate contrived samples at each GCE level. Following determination of the preliminary LoD, Phase II refined the LoD with five replicate specimens per five levels at, below, and above, the preliminary LoD, and Phase III confirmed the LoD with at least 95% detection across 20 replicate samples.

[0188] Testing was performed under manufacturer-recommended conditions for the KingFisher Flex and Real-Time PCR instruments. Room temperature steps were performed in laboratories with a temperature between 15°C and 30°C.

[0189] All remaining non-oligonucleotide reagents (e.g., master mix, water, dNTPs, etc.) were obtain from the TaqPath COVID-19 Combo kit (Thermo Fisher Scientific, Catalog No. A47814) and RT-PCR was conducted according to the protocol supplied therewith.

Procedure



[0190] A pool of at least 175 mL of NP specimens was prepared and divided equally for the five viruses; the same pool of each virus was used for the entire study phase.

[0191] Inactivated SARS-CoV-2 virus was obtained and diluted in Nucleic Acid Dilution Solution (NADS) or VTM just prior to extraction in accordance with Table 26; each dilution was mixed gently but thoroughly. To prevent cross-contamination, gloves were changed after making the intermediate dilutions and before beginning the LoD dilutions. Calculations in the following table were based on a stock concentration of 1.75×109 GCE/mL (2.8×109 TCID50/mL); if inactivated SARS-CoV-2 virus was not formulated at this concentration, the calculations were amended to produce the following concentrations.
Table 26.
Dilution IDFinal Conc. VirusVol. Virus StockVol. DiluentVol. NP Pool
Intermed-1 5.0 × 107 GCE/mL 2.0 µL of stock 68.0 µL --
Intermed-2 5.0 × 10' GCE/mL 10 µL of Intermed-1 990 µL --
Intermed-3 5.0 × 103 GCE/mL 20 µL of Intermed-2 1980 µL --
1 2.5 × 103 GCE/mL 1500 µL of Intermed- 3 -- 1500 µL
2 1.25 × 103 GCE/mL 1500 µL of Dilution 1 -- 1500 µL
3 5.0 × 102 GCE/mL 1200 µL of Dilution 2 -- 1800 µL
4 2.5 × 102 GCE/mL 1500 µL of Dilution 3 -- 1500 µL
5 100 GCE/mL 1200 µL of Dilution 4 -- 1800 µL
6 50 GCE/mL 1500 µL of Dilution 5 -- 1500 µL
7 0 GCE/mL -- -- 1500 µL


[0192] Live RSV A, RSV B, Flu A and Flu B viruses were obtained and viral genomic RNA was quantitated by digital PCR. Live RSV A, RSV B, Flu A virus, and Flu B virus were diluted to the same concentrations based upon the concentrations determined by digital PCR. Either NADS or VTM were used as the virus diluent.

LoD Phase I



[0193] Each test level included at least three replicate extractions. The preliminary LoD was the lowest concentration at which all three extraction replicates produce a result of Positive.

[0194] Using the specimens prepared in steps 12.2 and 12.3, Contrived samples were extracted in triplicate from the specimens prepared and were tested by RT-qPCR on a 7500 Fast platform. The preliminary LoD was calculated as the lowest concentration (highest Test Level ID) at which all three extraction replicates produced a result of Positive.

[0195] On the 7500 Fast real-time PCR instrument, the Preliminary LoD for SARS-CoV-2 was established in Phase I as 50 GCE/mL, the Preliminary LoD for Flu A (Perth) was established in Phase I as 250 GCE/mL, the Preliminary LoD for Flu A (Brisbane) was established in Phase I as 384 GCE/mL, the Preliminary LoD for Flu B (Florida) was established in Phase I as 500 GCE/mL, the Preliminary LoD for Flu B (Wisconsin) was established in Phase I as 250 GCE/mL, the Preliminary LoD for RSV A was established in Phase I as 50 GCE/mL, and the Preliminary LoD for RSV B was established in Phase I as 250 GCE/mL.

LoD Phase II



[0196] Each test level included at least five replicate extractions. The refined LoD was the lowest concentration at which all five extraction replicates produced a result of Positive.

[0197] Contrived samples were prepared to the levels in Table 27 below with at least five replicates per Test Level. Virus dilutions compatible with the concentrations being tested were formulated, and contrived samples were extracted and tested by RT-qPCR on a 7500 Fast platform. The refined LoD was calculated for each virus as the lowest concentration (highest Test Level ID) at which all five extraction replicates produced a result of Positive.
Table 27.
Test Level IDFinal Concentration VirusReplicates
1 3X Preliminary LoD 5
2 2X Preliminary LoD 5
3 Preliminary LoD 5
4 0.5X Preliminary LoD 5
5 0.33X Preliminary LoD 5
6 0 GCE 5


[0198] On the 7500 Fast real-time PCR instrument, the Refined LoD for SARS-CoV-2 was established in Phase II as 50 GCE/mL, the Refined LoD for Flu A (Perth) was established in Phase II as 250 GCE/mL, the Refined LoD for Flu A (Brisbane) was established in Phase II as 768 GCE/mL, the Refined LoD for Flu B (Florida) was established in Phase II as 1000 GCE/mL, the Refined LoD for Flu B (Wisconsin) was established in Phase II as 250 GCE/mL, the Refined LoD for RSV A was established in Phase II as 150 GCE/mL, and the Refined LoD for RSV B was established in Phase II as 200 GCE/mL.

LoD Phase III



[0199] The refined LoD determined in Phase II was confirmed with at least 20 replicate extractions. The LoD was confirmed if at least 19 of 20 extraction replicates produced a result of Positive.

[0200] Contrived samples were prepared to the levels in Table 28 below with at least twenty replicates per Test Level. Virus dilutions compatible with the concentrations being tested were formulated, and contrived samples were extracted and tested by RT-qPCR on a 7500 Fast platform. The LoD for each specimen was confirmed if at least 95% of extraction replicates produced a result of Positive. If the LoD was not confirmed for any of the five viruses, Phase III was repeated for that virus at a higher concentration.
Table 28.
Test Level IDFinal Concentration VirusReplicates
1 Refined LoD 20
2 0 GCE 1


[0201] On the 7500 Fast real-time PCR instrument, the Confirmed LoD for SARS-CoV-2 established in Phase III was 50 GCE/mL, the Confirmed LoD for Flu A (Perth) established in Phase III was 350 GCE/mL, the Confirmed LoD for Flu A (Brisbane) established in Phase III was 384 GCE/mL, the Confirmed LoD for Flu B (Florida) established in Phase III was 1250 GCE/mL, the Confirmed LoD for Flu B (Wisconsin) established in Phase III was 350 GCE/mL, the Confirmed LoD for RSV A established in Phase III was 200 GCE/mL, and the Confirmed LoD for RSV B established in Phase III was 200 GCE/mL.

[0202] LoDs for the TaqPath COVID-19, Flu A / Flu B, RSV Combo Kit (COVID/Flu/RSV test) were established using the 7500 Fast real-time PCR instrument (e.g., 7500 Fast Dx for 96-well plates using 17.5 µL of reaction volume input and QS7 Flex for 384-well plates using 14 µL of reaction volume input); the results are summarized in Table 29 below.
Table 29. Summary Workflow Limits of Detection (LoD)
VirusSubtypeStrainLimit of Detection
SARS-CoV-2 N/A USA-WA1/2020 50 GCE/mL 0.00824 TCID50/mL
Flu A (Perth) H3N2 A/Perth/16/2009 350 GCE/mL 0.0221 TCID50/mL
Flu A (Brisbane) H1N1 A/Brisbane/59/2007 384 GCE/mL 0.00123 TCID50/mL
Flu B (Florida) Yamagata B/Florida/04/2006 1250 GCE/mL 0.147 TCID50/mL
Flu B (Wisconsin) Victoria B/Wisconsin/01/2010 350 GCE/mL 0.00424 TCID50/mL
RSV A N/A A/2006 200 GCE/mL 0.0136 TCID50/mL
RSV B N/A B/3/2015 Isolate #2 200 GCE/mL 0.0131 TCID50/mL

Example 9: SARS-CoV-2 Fast PCR Assay



[0203] Raw saliva samples were heated in a 95°C water bath for 30 minutes and subsequently allowed to equilibrate to room temperature. Each heat-treated sample was vortexed at maximum speed for 10 seconds or until the sample appeared homogenous. 100 µL of each heated treated saliva sample was transferred to individual wells of a 96-well plate having 100 µL of a TBE-T mix prepared therein. The TBE-T mix included 50 µL TBE buffer and 50 µL Tween-20 detergent. Each well was mixed by pipetting gently. Any storage prior to RT-PCR was done at 4°C or on ice for up to 2 hours.

[0204] The components in Table 30 were combined to make the RT-PCR Reaction Mix for the total number of reactions, plus 10% overage (with the Multiplex Reagents and Control reagents obtained from Thermo Fisher Catalog Nos. A47701 and 956125, respectively.
Table 30. RT-qPCR Reaction Mix
ComponentVolume / reaction
TaqPath 1-Step Multiplex Master Mix, CG (4X) 2.5 µL
TaqMan SARS-CoV-2, Flu A, Flu B Multiplex Reagents 0.5 µL
Nuclease-free water 2.0 µL
Total Reaction Mix Volume 5.0 µL


[0205] The reaction mixes were vortexed for about 10-30 seconds) and centrifuged briefly. For each reaction, the components in Table 31, below, were combined in a MicroAmp Optical 384-Well Reaction Plate (0.2 mL/well):
Table 31. RT-qPCR Reactions
 Volume / reaction
ComponentRNA SamplePos. ControlNeg. Control
Reaction Mix (see Table 30) 5.0 µL 5.0 µL 5.0 µL
Prepared sample (saliva + TBE-T) 5.0 µL - -
Diluted TaqMan SARS-CoV-2, Flu A, Flu B, RNA Control - 17.5 µL -
Nuclease-free water - - 5.0 µL
Total Reaction Volume 10.00 µL 10.0 µL 10.0 µL


[0206] The plate was sealed with a MicroAmp Optical Adhesive Film and vortexed briefly to mix the contents. The plate was centrifuged briefly to collect the contents at the bottom of the wells. The plate was loaded into a 7500 Real-Time PCR Instrument and the protocol in Table 32 was run.
Table 32. RT-qPCR Protocol for Multi-Pathogen Multiplex Assay
StepStage# of cyclesTemp.Time
Reverse transcription 1 1 50°C 4 min
Polymerase activation 2 1 95°C 2 min
Amplification 3 40 95°C 1 sec
60°C 20 sec


[0207] Appropriate analysis parameters were identified using the baseline threshold algorithm with manual threshold settings on Applied Biosystems qPCR instruments to calculate Ct values. With this algorithm, there were two primary analysis settings impacting Ct value-baseline and threshold. The baseline is set individually for each amplification curve and defines the region of baseline significant fluorescence signal detected, which can help normalize well-to-well variance in background noise during early cycles. Automatic baselining using a start cycle of 5 was initially used for the TaqCheck SARS-CoV-2 Fast PCR Assay.

[0208] Once the primary analysis settings were established, Ct cutoffs were defined for each target for both samples and controls. Cutoffs were evaluated using data generated with no template controls and other negative controls to exclude spurious amplification such as contamination introduced from the environment. Cutoffs were also assessed in context of data assessing the dynamic range of the assay. For example, an acceptable Ct cutoff excludes background contamination in the NTC while capturing true amplification within the verified dynamic range.

[0209] The first experiment determined the maximum level of background fluorescence signal and therefore the lowest that ΔRn thresholds could be set. This experiment consisted of running single-amplification wells from SARS-CoV-2 in vitro transcribed RNA (1×107 copies/well) and human universal human reference RNA (1 mg) in 4 corner wells and 4 wells in the center of a 384-well plate on 8 different QuantStudio 5 instruments.

[0210] The second experiment assessed variability of RNAse P Ct values and the real-world effects of inhibition on the overall strength of qPCR amplification and therefore how high ΔRn thresholds could be set. This experiment was accomplished using frozen negative saliva samples (in triplicate) and spiking in dilutions of inactivated virus at 10,000 GCE/mL.

[0211] The final experiment established ΔRn and Ct cutoffs for assay targets. This was accomplished by running a total of 8, 384-well NTC plates at 3 different lab sites to determine the variability of RNase P background signal between different labs and establish a Ct cutoff settings for the assay. There is inherent variability between labs since human cells, though ubiquitous, exist at varying levels between different laboratories.

[0212] Results: once the data were collected, the ΔRn of representative present and absent samples for RNase P was plotted at various cycles to determine a preliminary Ct cutoff and threshold that separates the RNase P present from the RNase P absent samples. Preliminary experiments indicated that a Ct cutoff of 32 for RNase P for samples provided analytical sensitivity and guarded against false calls due to sample inadequacy. Based on these experiments a Ct cutoff of 35 was selected for RNase P in the No Template Control (NTC) and Positive Control (PC) to control for RNase P contamination as these controls should not contain human genomic material. Preliminary experiments further indicated that a Ct cutoff of 37 for SARS-CoV-2 provides analytical sensitivity while addressing low levels of SARS-CoV-2 contamination. It is important to note that high levels of contamination (such as from a cross-contamination event) are difficult to address by thresholds and Ct cutoffs-best practices should be implemented in the lab SOP to prevent contamination.

[0213] A summary of the thresholds and Ct cutoffs identified are provided in Table 33 below.
Table 33.
TargetSample TypeThreshold (ARn)Ct cutoff
RNase P Sample 0.2 32
SARS-CoV-2 Sample, NTC 0.1 37
RNase P PC, NTC 0.2 35
SARS-CoV-2 PC 0.1 37


[0214] Based on the foregoing, secondary analysis Ct cutoffs were applied for samples (as described in Table 34 below) and for NTC and PC (as described in Table 35 below).
Table 34.
Ct ValueResult
SARS-CoV-2 N and S genes (VIC)RNase P (FAM)
≤ 37 ≤ 32 Present
≤ 37 >32 Present
> 37 ≤ 32 Absent
> 37 >32 Re-Test
Table 35.
ControlCt Value
SARS-CoV-2 N and S genes (VIC)RNase P (FAM)
NTC > 37 > 35
PC ≤ 37 > 35


[0215] To determine the analytical sensitivity, an experiment was performed to determine the genome copy number equivalents per mL (GCE/mL) where greater than 95% of the expected present samples were detected. Gamma irradiated virus was spiked into SARS-CoV-2 negative saliva samples. Samples were then prepared as described in TaqCheck SARS-CoV-2 Fast PCR Assay Quick Reference Guide and analyzed by RT-PCR. Data from a representative experiment, analyzed based on the determined threshold and Ct cutoffs contained herein, are presented in Table 36. Based on the results of the experiment, analytical sensitivity was established at 6,000 GCE/mL.
Table 36.
Copies (GCE/mL)# Replicates# Pos Samples Detected% Pos
1000 92 46 50%
3320 96 87 91%
4000 300 192 64%
6000 80 79 99%
6680 96 93 97%
9000 60 60 100%
10000 280 274 98%
12000 60 60 100%
20000 161 161 100%

Example 10: Discrimination of variants of SARS-CoV-2 in biological samples



[0216] In some embodiments, one inherent advantage possessed by the disclosed primers and probes is the ability to discriminate between patient samples that contain the 'normal' or 'reference' version of SARS-nCoV-2, as exemplified in GenBank Accession No: MN908947.3, and patient samples infected by certain viral variants, particularly variants involving deletion of amino acid residue 69 and/or 70 of the Spike protein encoded by the S gene. The disclosed primers and probes can accordingly be used to quickly and cheaply determine whether certain SARS-CoV-2 variants are potentially present in clinical samples during patient intake or triage. Samples that test positive for two out of three viral target sequences (N, S and ORFlab) are initially classified as positive and selected for further assessment using more extensive and expensive confirmatory methods such as sequencing of the viral genome. As reported in the literature, such primers and probes have been widely used by health facilities in the United Kingdom to obtain an initial indication of whether the B.1.1.7 variant is present in patients.

[0217] See, e.g., Public Health England, Technical Briefing 1, Investigation of Novel SARS-COV-2 Variant, Variant of Concern 202012/01, available at https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file /959438/Technical_Briefing_VOC_SH_NJL2_SH2.pdf.

[0218] As an example, samples collected from humans via nasopharyngeal swab, nasopharyngeal aspirate, or bronchoalveolar lavage are tested to determine whether certain variants of SARS-CoV-2 are potentially present. Viral DNA from patient samples is isolated using the MagMAX Viral/Pathogen Nucleic Acid Isolation Kit (sold by Thermo Fisher Scientific under Cat. No. A42356) in accordance with the instructions provided therewith.

[0219] The samples are then subjected to multiplex amplification using the exemplary primers and probes specified below and using the master mix and other general components from the TaqPath COVID-19 Combo Kit (Thermo Fisher Scientific, Catalog No. A47814) in accordance with the protocol supplied therewith. Amplification is performed on a QuantStudio 7500 (Thermo Fisher Scientific) and amplification of the N, S and ORF1ab target sequences monitored using the VIC, ABY and FAM probe labels, respectively, while the positive control (MS2) was monitored using a JUN probe label.
Table 37.
 FOR primerREV primerProbe
ORFlab SEQ ID NO: 160 SEQ ID NO: 468 SEQ ID NO: 1049
S SEQ ID NO: 100 SEQ ID NO: 337 SEQ ID NO: 864
N SEQ ID NO: 211 SEQ ID NO: 510(mod) SEQ ID NO: 833


[0220] The resulting data are analyzed using the COVID Interpretive Software released by Thermo Fisher Scientific. For each plate, the control reactions are confirmed to perform as expected (i.e., the no template control have an undetermined Ct value and the positive control has a Ct value less than or equal to 30).

[0221] The Ct cutoff for viral samples is set to 37. If the Ct value for each of the N, S and ORFlab target sequences is determined, the sample called as positive for a target sequence where the Ct value for that target sequence is equal to, or less than, 37. In several samples, the results were positive for the N and ORFlab gene target sequences but negative for the S gene target sequence.

[0222] Samples that test positive for two or more SARS-CoV-2 target sequences are classified as having a valid result; those only showing positive for two of the three SARS-CoV-2 target sequences are recommended for further testing by the health authorities. These can typically, but not necessarily, include samples that test positive for both the N and ORF1ab gene target sequences while testing negative for the S gene target sequence.

Conclusion



[0223] The present disclosure may be embodied in other specific forms without departing from its spirit or essential characteristics. The described embodiments are to be considered in all respects only as illustrative and not restrictive. The scope of the invention is, therefore, indicated by the appended claims rather than by the foregoing description. While certain embodiments and details have been included herein and in the attached disclosure for purposes of illustrating embodiments of the present disclosure, it will be apparent to those skilled in the art that various changes in the methods, products, devices, and apparatuses disclosed herein may be made without departing from the scope of the disclosure or of the invention. Thus, while various aspects and embodiments have been disclosed herein, other aspects and embodiments are contemplated. All changes that come within the meaning and range of equivalency of the claims are to be embraced within their scope.

[0224] The subsequent items are a list of preferred embodiments:
  1. 1. A method for detecting SARS-CoV-2 in a nucleic acid sample, comprising:
    1. (a) creating a reaction mixture containing the nucleic acid sample, a forward primer, and a reverse primer; and
    2. (b) subjecting the reaction mixture to reaction conditions suitable to perform a polymerase chain reaction (PCR).
  2. 2. The method of item 1, further including generating one or more amplicons via PCR.
  3. 3. The method of item 1 or item 2, wherein the reaction mixture further includes a probe containing a fluorescent reporter and a corresponding quencher.
  4. 4. The method of any one of items 1-3, further including monitoring the fluorescence produced during the PCR.
  5. 5. The method of any preceding item, further including determining the amount of nucleic acid present in the sample.
  6. 6. The method of any preceding item, wherein the forward primer and the reverse primer bind to a region of the coronavirus genome wherein the homology of the region between SARS-CoV-2 and bat-SL-CoVZC45 is less than 50%, 20%, 10% or 5%.
  7. 7. The method of item 6, wherein the region is within the ORFlab gene, the S protein gene, or the N protein gene of the SARS-CoV-2 genome.
  8. 8. The method of any preceding item, wherein the forward primers are selected from SEQ ID NO:4 - SEQ ID NO:251.
  9. 9. The method of any preceding item, where in the reverse primers are selected from SEQ ID NO:267 - SEQ ID NO:504.
  10. 10. The method of item any preceding item, wherein the probe sequence is selected from SEQ ID NO:520 - SEQ ID NO:1295.
  11. 11. The method of any one of items 3-10, wherein the probe is labeled at the 5' end with a dye selected from 6FAM, ABY, VIC, JUN, and FAM
  12. 12. The method of item 11, wherein the probe is labeled at the 3' end with a quencher selected from QSY, BHQ (Black Hole Quencher), and DFQ (Dark Fluorescent Quencher).
  13. 13. The method of any preceding item, wherein a positive control and a negative control are analyzed in conjunction with the sample.
  14. 14. The method of item 13, wherein a nucleic acid template for the positive control is a synthetic plasmid comprising sequences from the SARS-CoV-2 ORFlab gene, the SARS-CoV-2 S protein gene, the SARS-CoV-2 N protein gene, and/or a human RNase P gene.
  15. 15. A composition for detecting the presence of SARS-CoV-2 from a nucleic acid sample, comprising a nucleic acid primer and/or probe containing a nucleic acid sequence of a target region, the nucleic acid primer and/or probe comprising a primer and/or probe within SEQ ID NO:4 - SEQ ID NO:251. SEQ ID NO:267 - SEQ ID NO:504, and SEQ ID NO:520 - SEQ ID NO:1295.
  16. 16. The composition of item 15, wherein the nucleic acid primer is a first forward primer configured to hybridize to one end of a first target sequence within a first target region in the SARS-CoV-2 viral RNA genome, or to a complement of the first target sequence.
  17. 17. The composition of item 15 or 16, wherein the nucleic acid sequence of the target region is SEQ ID NO:1.
  18. 18. The composition of item 15 or 16, wherein the nucleic acid sequence of the target region is SEQ ID NO:2.
  19. 19. The composition of item 15 or 16, wherein the nucleic acid sequence of the target region is SEQ ID NO:3.
  20. 20. The composition of any one of items 15-19, further including a first reverse primer configured to hybridize to the other end of the first target sequence or its complement.
  21. 21. The composition of any one of items 15-20, further including the nucleic acid sample, a polymerase, a buffer, and dNTPs.
  22. 22. The composition of any one of items 15-21, further including a first probe containing a detectable label.
  23. 23. The composition of item 22, wherein the detectable label is a fluorescent label and the first probe further includes a quencher that quenches the fluorescent label.
  24. 24. The composition of item 22 or item 23, wherein the first probe is configured to hybridize to a first target subsequence that is complementary or identical to at least 10 contiguous nucleotides within the first target sequence, a DNA copy thereof, or to a complement of the first target sequence or its DNA copy.
  25. 25. A composition for amplifying one or more target sequences in the SARS-CoV-2 genome, comprising: a first forward primer and a first reverse primer configured to amplify a first target sequence present in a first target region of the SARS-CoV-2 genome, wherein the first target sequence includes at least 10 contiguous nucleotides of the first target region, the first target region having less than 50%, 40%, 30%, 20%, or 10% identity with an analogous region in bat-SL-CoVZC45.
  26. 26. The composition of item 25, wherein the first forward primer and the first reverse primer are configured to hybridize to different ends of the first target sequence, a DNA copy thereof, or their respective complements, and form an amplicon therebetween.
  27. 27. The composition of item 25 or item 26, wherein the nucleic acid sequence of the first target region is SEQ ID NO:1.
  28. 28. The composition of item 25 or item 26, wherein the nucleic acid sequence of the first target region is SEQ ID NO:2.
  29. 29. The composition of item 25 or item 26, wherein the nucleic acid sequence of the first target region is SEQ ID NO:3.
  30. 30. The composition of any one of items 25-29, further including a nucleic acid sample, a polymerase, a buffer, and dNTPs.
  31. 31. The composition of any one of items 25-30, further including a first probe containing a detectable label.
  32. 32. The composition of item 31, wherein the detectable label is a fluorescent label and the first probe further includes a quencher that quenches the fluorescent label.
  33. 33. The composition of item 31 or 32, wherein the first probe is configured to hybridize to a first target subsequence that is complementary or identical to at least 10 contiguous nucleotides of the first target sequence, a DNA copy thereof, or their respective complements.
  34. 34. The composition of item 33, further including a second forward primer and a second reverse primer configured to amplify a second target sequence within a second target region of the SARS-CoV-2 genome.
  35. 35. The composition of item 34, wherein the second forward primer and the second reverse primer are configured to bind to different ends of the second target sequence or to a cDNA complement thereof.
  36. 36. The composition of item 34 or 35, wherein the nucleic acid sequence of the first target region and the second target region are different and are selected from SEQ ID NO:1, SEQ ID NO:2, and SEQ ID NO:3.
  37. 37. The composition of item 36, further including a third forward primer and a third reverse primer configured to amplify a third target sequence within a third target region of the SARS-CoV-2 genome.
  38. 38. The composition of item 37, wherein the third forward primer and the third reverse primer are configured to bind to different ends of the third target sequence or to a DNA copy or DNA complement thereof.
  39. 39. The composition of item 38, wherein the nucleic acid sequence of the first target region, the second target region, and the third target region are different and are selected from SEQ ID NO:1, SEQ ID NO:2, and SEQ ID NO:3.
  40. 40. The composition of any one of items 26-39, wherein the primer sequences specific for the first target sequence are selected from SEQ ID NOs: 4, 320, 34, 423, 160 and 468.
  41. 41. The composition of any one of items 34-40, wherein the primer sequences specific for the second target sequence are selected from SEQ ID NOs: 5, 441, 100 and 337.
  42. 42. The composition of any one of items 37-41, wherein the primer sequences specific for the third target sequence are selected from SEQ ID NOs : 248, 487, 211 and 501.
  43. 43. A composition useful as an amplification control in a reaction to detect SARS-CoV-2 nucleic acid, Influenza (Flu) type A and/or Influenza (Flu) type B nucleic acid, and/or Respiratory Syncytia Virus (RSV) nucleic acid in a sample, comprising a linear or circular nucleic acid molecule including, in any order, at least one target sequence derived from the N gene of SARS-CoV-2, at least one further target sequence derived from the S gene of SARS-CoV-2, and optionally at least one target sequence derived from the ORFlab gene of SARS-CoV-2.
  44. 44. A kit for detecting SARS-CoV-2 nucleic acid, Influenza (Flu) type A and/or Influenza (Flu) type B nucleic acid, and/or Respiratory Syncytia Virus (RSV) nucleic acid in a sample, comprising a composition of any one of items 15-43, or any combinations thereof.
  45. 45. The kit of item 44, further including a PCR master mix.
  46. 46. The kit of item 45, wherein the master mix is TaqMan Fast Virus 1-Step Master Mix or TaqPath 1-Step RT-qPCR Master Mix, CG.
  47. 47. The kit of any one of items 44-46, wherein at least one of the components is dried or freeze dried.
  48. 48. The kit of any of items 44-47, further including an array of qPCR assays, each qPCR assay situated in a different locus of the array.
  49. 49. The kit of item 48, wherein the different locus includes a well, channel, groove, cavity, site, or feature formed on a surface of the array.
  50. 50. A method of detecting SARS-CoV-2 viral nucleic acid present in a sample, comprising:
    1. (a) providing a composition according to any one of items 15-43;
    2. (b) forming a reaction volume by contacting the composition, in any order or combination, with a polymerase, dNTPs, and a nucleic acid sample obtained from bodily tissue taken from an organism; and
    3. (c) forming one or more amplification products containing amplified SARS-CoV-2 sequences in the reaction volume, wherein the forming includes subjecting the reaction volume to amplification conditions suitable to amplify target SARS-CoV-2 sequences from SARS-CoV-2 nucleic acid present in the nucleic acid sample prior to amplification.
  51. 51. The method of item 50, further including detecting at least one of the amplification products during or after the forming step.
  52. 52. The method of item 50 or 51, further including diagnosing a SARS-CoV-2 infection in the organism.
  53. 53. The method of any one of items 50-52, wherein the organism is a human subject and the nucleic acid sample is derived from SARS-CoV-2.
  54. 54. The method of any one of items 50-53, wherein the forming includes amplifying at least three different and specific SARS-CoV-2 target sequences from the nucleic acid sample.
  55. 55. The method of item 54, wherein the at least three different three different SARS-CoV-2 target sequences include one target sequence derived from the N gene, one target sequence derived from the S gene, and one target sequence derived from the ORF1ab gene.
  56. 56. The method of item 13 or any one of items 50 to 54, wherein the positive control is an exogenous RNA sequence or an endogenous DNA or RNA sequence.
  57. 57. The method of item 56, wherein the exogenous RNA sequence is an MS2 bacteriophage sequence and wherein the endogenous DNA or RNA sequence is a human RNase P sequence.
  58. 58. The method of item 56 or 57, further comprising a second positive control selected from an exogenous RNA sequence and an endogenous nucleic acid sequence.
  59. 59. The method of any one of items 1-14 or 50-58, wherein the method further includes detecting a target sequence derived from the influenza type A (Flu A) and/or influenza type B (Flu B) virus in the nucleic acid sample.
  60. 60. The method of item 59, wherein the detecting comprises the use of a forward primer selected from SEQ ID NO:252, SEQ ID NO:253, or SEQ ID NO:257; a reverse primer selected from SEQ ID NO:505 and SEQ ID NO:506; and/or a probe selected from SEQ ID NO: 1296 and SEQ ID NO: 1297.
  61. 61. The method of any one of items 1-14 or 50-60, wherein detection of SARS-CoV-2 and/or Flu A and/or Flu B in the nucleic acid sample is detected down to at least a 10 genomic copy equivalent per reaction (GCE/rxn).
  62. 62. The method of any one of items 1-14 or 50-60, wherein detection of SARS-CoV-2 and/or Flu A and/or Flu B in the nucleic acid sample is detected over a linear dynamic range (LDR) of detection from 107 to 10 GCE/rxn.
  63. 63. The method of any one of items 1-14 or 50-60, wherein detection of SARS-CoV-2 in the nucleic acid sample is detected down to 1-10 copies/µL per reaction.
  64. 64. The method of any one of items 1-14 or 50-60, wherein detection of SARS-CoV-2 in the nucleic acid sample is detected over a linear dynamic range (LDR) of at least 5 logs.
  65. 65. A composition for detecting the presence of SARS-CoV-2 and Influenza type A (Flu A) and/or Influenza type B (Flu B) in a nucleic acid sample, comprising at least two pairs of nucleic acid primers, each pair of nucleic acid primers having a forward primer and a reverse primer selected, respectively, from SEQ ID NO:4 - SEQ ID NO:257 and SEQ ID NO:267 - SEQ ID NO:510, and, optionally, at least two nucleic acid probes containing a nucleic acid sequence selected from any of SEQ ID NO:520 - SEQ ID NO:2533.
  66. 66. The method, kit or composition of any one of the preceding items, wherein the probe is a FAM-labeled probe directed to the ORFlab gene of SARS-CoV-2.
  67. 67. The method, kit or composition of any one of the preceding items, wherein the probe is a VIC-labeled probe directed to the N protein gene of SARS-CoV-2.
  68. 68. The method, kit or composition of any one of the preceding items 1, wherein the probe is an ABY-labeled probe directed to the S protein gene of SARS-CoV-2.
  69. 69. The method, kit or composition of any one of the preceding items, wherein the positive control is an MS2 qPCR assay comprising a JUN-labeled probe directed to a portion of the MS2 nucleic acid present in the MS2 qPCR assay.
  70. 70. A method for the detection of SARS-CoV-2 in a nucleic acid sample, comprising:
    1. (a) creating a reaction mixture containing the nucleic acid sample, a forward primer, and a reverse primer; and
    2. (b) subjecting the reaction mixture to reaction conditions suitable to perform a loop-mediated isothermal amplification (LAMP).
  71. 71. The method of any one of items 1-14, 50-64, and 66-70, wherein the method comprises a point-of service (POS) system.
  72. 72. The method of any one of items 1-14, 50-64, and 66-70, wherein the nucleic acid sample is collected at a point of care (POC) location, and/or is analyzed in a device at the POC location.
  73. 73. The method of item 71, wherein the device at the POC location is configured to analyze a small-volume clinical sample in a short period of time, such as less than 1-2 hours.
  74. 74. The method of item 71 or item 72, wherein the method is performed on the POS system at the POC location.
  75. 75. The method of item 71 or item 72, wherein the nucleic acid sample is obtained at the POC location.
  76. 76. The method of item 71 or item 72, wherein the method is used for analyzing a clinical sample at the POC location.
  77. 77. The method of item 71 or item 72, wherein the POS method includes performing a plurality of assays on a single small volume clinical sample, or on aliquots thereof.
  78. 78. The method of item 71, wherein the POS system is implemented at a POS location, and wherein the method is performed in a short period of time.
  79. 79. The method of item 71, wherein the methods are implemented at the POS system at the POS location, wherein the methods are for performing a plurality of assays on a single small volume clinical sample, or on aliquots thereof, and may be performed in a short period of time.
  80. 80. The method of item 78 or item 79, wherein the short period of time is less than 24 hours.
  81. 81. The method, kit or composition of any one of the preceding items, wherein the PCR is a reverse transcription PCR (RT-PCR).
  82. 82. The method, kit or composition of any one of the preceding items, wherein a forward RNase P primer comprises SEQ ID NO:2552, a reverse RNase P primer comprises SEQ ID NO:2553, and/or an RNase P probe is selected from SEQ ID NO:2554 - SEQ ID NO:2556.
  83. 83. The method of any one of items 1-14 or 50-64 or 66-82, wherein the method further includes detection of a Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV) specific target within the nucleic acid sample.
  84. 84. The method of item 83, wherein detection of RSV comprises detecting RSV type A and/or RSV type B using a forward primer selected from SEQ ID NO:254 and SEQ ID NO:255, a reverse primer selected from SEQ ID NO:507 and SEQ ID NO:508, and/or a probe selected from SEQ ID NO: 1298 and SEQ ID NO: 1299.
  85. 85. The method of any one of items 1-14 or 50-64 or 66-84, wherein detection of SARS-CoV-2, Flu A and/or Flu B, and/or RSV A and/or RSV B in the nucleic acid sample is detected down to at least a 10 genomic copy equivalent per reaction (GCE/rxn).
  86. 86. The method of any one of items 1-14 or 50-64 or 66-84, wherein detection of SARS-CoV-2, Flu A and/or Flu B, and/or RSV A and/or RSV B in the nucleic acid sample is detected over a linear dynamic range of detection from 107 to 10 GCE/rxn.
  87. 87. The method of any one of items 1-14 or 50-64 or 66-84, wherein the method further includes detection of influenza type A (Flu A) virus, influenza type B (Flu B) virus, Respiratory Syncytial Virus type A (RSV A), and/or Respiratory Syncytial Virus type B (RSV B) in the nucleic acid sample.
  88. 88. The method of item 87, wherein the SARS-CoV-2 probes comprise a VIC dye and QSY quencher, the Flu A/B probes comprise FAM dye and QSY quencher, and the RSV A/B probes comprise an ABY dye and QSY quencher.
  89. 89. A method for detecting SARS-CoV-2 as disclosed herein.
  90. 90. The method of any one of items 1-14, 50-64, or 66-89, wherein the sample comprises a saliva sample.
  91. 91. The method of item 89 or item 90, wherein the method does not include a step for purifying or extracting a nucleic-acid-containing portion away from the sample.
  92. 92. The method of any one of items 89-91, wherein the detection of SARS-CoV-2 within the sample is performed via a nucleic acid amplification reaction utilizing the unpurified sample as a probative template.
  93. 93. The method of item 92, further comprising heating the sample for a period of time sufficient to inactivate nucleases within the sample and/or to rupture eukaryotic cells, denature viral capsids, and/or disrupt a membrane portion of enveloped virions therein.
  94. 94. The method of any one of items 89-93, further comprising heating the unpurified sample to a temperature at or above about 80°C, preferably at or above about 90°C, more preferably at or above about 95°C.
  95. 95. The method of item 94, wherein the unpurified sample is heated for at least 5, 10, 15, 20, 25, 30, 35, or 40 minutes or for any range of time formed by an upper and lower bound selected therefrom.
  96. 96. The method of any one of items 90-95, further comprising combining the sample with a lysis buffer.
  97. 97. The method of any one of items 93-96, further comprising mixing the heat-treated sample prior to and/or after combining the heat-treated sample with the lysis buffer.
  98. 98. The method of item 96 or 97, wherein the lysis buffer comprises a nucleic-acid-amenable buffer and a detergent and/or emulsifier.
  99. 99. The method of any one of items 96-98, wherein the lysis buffer comprises a combination of TBE buffer and a polysorbate-type nonionic surfactant, such as Tween-20.
  100. 100. The method of any one of items 89-99, wherein the sample comprises a pooled-subject sample.
  101. 101. The method of any one of items 89-100, wherein detecting SARS-CoV-2 within the sample occurs in less than about 3 hours from the time the sample is received, preferably less than about 2 hours.
  102. 102. A method for the detection of the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus in a nucleic acid sample comprising:
    1. (a) heating a sample for 15-45 minutes, preferably about 30 minutes, at 95°C;
    2. (b) mixing the heat-treated sample with a lysis solution to form a volume of probative template;
    3. (c) creating a nucleic acid amplification reaction mixture comprising at least a portion of the volume of probative template, one or more primers specific and/or diagnostic for SARS-CoV-2, and a nucleic acid polymerase; and
    4. (d) subjecting the nucleic acid amplification reaction mixture to conditions suitable to generate SARS-CoV-2-specific amplicons if SARS-CoV-2 nucleic acid is present in the sample.
  103. 103. The method of item 102, further comprising receiving a sample.
  104. 104. The method of item 103, wherein receiving the sample comprises receiving a sample collection device or other container comprising the sample.
  105. 105. The method of item 104, wherein the sample collection device is a sealable tube.
  106. 106. The method of any one of items 103-105, wherein the sample is received following self-collection of the sample by the subject.
  107. 107. The method of any one of items 103-106, wherein receiving the sample comprises receiving a raw saliva sample.
  108. 108. The method of any one of items 102-107, further comprising vortexing the heat-treated sample.
  109. 109. The method of any one of items 102-108, further comprising detecting the amplicons, or one or more detectable labels associated with generation of the amplicons, while subjecting the nucleic acid amplification reaction mixture to the conditions suitable for generating the amplicons.
  110. 110. The method of any one of items 102-108, further comprising detecting the amplicons, or one or more detectable labels associated with generation of the amplicons, after the nucleic acid amplification reaction mixture is subjected to the conditions suitable for generating the amplicons.
  111. 111. The method of any one of items 102-110, further comprising equilibrating the heat-treated sample to room temperature prior to mixing the heat-treated sample with the lysis solution.
  112. 112. The method of any one of the preceding items, wherein the sample is received following self-collection by the sample provider.
  113. 113. The method of any one of the preceding items, wherein the sample is received following collection by an individual other than the sample provider.
  114. 114. The method of any one of the preceding items, wherein one or more of the method steps are performed using a sample collection device.
  115. 115. The method of item 114, wherein at least the steps of receiving and heating are performed using the sample collection device.
  116. 116. The method of any one of the preceding items, wherein the method is used for asymptomatic testing and/or high-frequency or widespread screening.
  117. 117. A composition for use in methods of detecting viral nucleic acid, the composition comprising a heat-treated sample.
  118. 118. The composition of item 117, wherein the heat-treated sample comprises heat-treated raw saliva.
  119. 119. The composition of item 117 or item 118, further comprising a buffer.
  120. 120. The composition of item 119, wherein the buffer comprises TBE.
  121. 121. The composition of any one of items 117-120, further comprising a detergent and/or emulsifier.
  122. 122. The composition of item 121, wherein the detergent and/or emulsifier comprises a polysorbate-type nonionic surfactant.
  123. 123. The composition of any one of items 117-122, further comprising one or more PCR reagents.
  124. 124. The composition of item 123, wherein the one or more PCR reagents comprise one or more primers or probes for amplifying specific viral nucleic acid sequences as described herein.
  125. 125. The composition of item 123 or item 124, wherein the one or more PCR reagents comprise a PCR master mix or components thereof.
  126. 126. The method, composition or kit of any one of the preceding items, wherein the nucleic acid sample is derived from a non-human animal.
  127. 127. The method, composition or kit of any one of the preceding items, wherein the nucleic acid sample is derived from a mammal.
  128. 128. The method, composition or kit of any one of item 127, wherein the nucleic acid sample is derived from a mink, cat, dog, ferret, hamster, bat, primate, such as Rhesus macaques, cynomolgus macaques, grivets, and common marmosets, zoo animal, laboratory animal or farm animal.
  129. 129. The method, composition or kit of any one of the preceding items, wherein the reverse and forward primer sequences specific for the first target sequence are selected from SEQ ID NOs: 248 and 487, or 211 and 501.
  130. 130. The method, composition or kit of any one of the preceding items wherein the reverse and forward primer sequences specific for the second target sequence are selected from SEQ ID NOs: 5 and 441, or 100 and 337.
  131. 131. The method, composition or kit of any one of the preceding items, wherein the reverse and forward primer sequences specific for the third target sequence are selected from SEQ ID NOs: 4 and 320, or 34 and 423, or 160 and 468.
  132. 132. The method, composition or kit of any one of the preceding items, wherein the reverse and forward primer sequences specific for the first, second and/or third target sequence are:

    SEQ ID NOs: 4 and 320, SEQ ID NOs: 5 and 441 and/or SEQ ID NOs: 248 and 487;

    SEQ ID NOs: 34 and 423, SEQ ID NOs: 5 and 441 and/or SEQ ID NOs: 248 and 487;

    SEQ ID NOs: 160 and 468, SEQ ID NOs: 5 and 441 and/or SEQ ID NOs: 248 and 487;

    SEQ ID NOs: 4 and 320, SEQ ID NOs: 100 and 337 and/or SEQ ID NOs: 248 and 487;

    SEQ ID NOs: 34 and 423, SEQ ID NOs: 100 and 337 and/or SEQ ID NOs: 248 and 487;

    SEQ ID NOs: 160 and 468, SEQ ID NOs: 100 and 337 and SEQ ID NOs: 248 and 487

    SEQ ID NOs: 4 and 320, SEQ ID NOs: 5 and 441 and SEQ ID NOs: 211 and 501;

    SEQ ID NOs: 34 and 423, SEQ ID NOs: 5 and 441 and SEQ ID NOs: 211 and 501;

    SEQ ID NOs: 160 and 468, SEQ ID NOs: 5 and 441 and SEQ ID NOs: 211 and 501;

    SEQ ID NOs: 4 and 320, SEQ ID NOs: 100 and 337 and SEQ ID NOs: 211 and 501;

    SEQ ID NOs: 34 and 423, SEQ ID NOs: 100 and 337 and SEQ ID NOs: 211 and 501; or

    SEQ ID NOs 160 and 468, SEQ ID NOs: 100 and 337 and SEQ ID NOs: 211 and 501.

  133. 133. The method, composition or kit of any one of the preceding items, wherein the probe is selected from the group consisting of SEQ ID NO: 565, 599, 971, 930, 1160, 1106, 1203, 1049, 864 and/or 833.
  134. 134. The method, composition or kit of any one of the preceding items, wherein any one of the reverse and forward primer sequences specific for the first, second or third target sequence is SEQ ID NO: 248.
  135. 135. The method, composition or kit of any one of the preceding items, wherein any one of the reverse and forward primer sequences specific for the first, second or third target sequence is SEQ ID NO: 487.
  136. 136. The method, composition or kit of any one of the preceding items, wherein any one of the reverse and forward primer sequences specific for the first, second or third target sequence is SEQ ID NO: 211.
  137. 137. The method, composition or kit of any one of the preceding items, wherein any one of the reverse and forward primer sequences specific for the first, second or third target sequence is SEQ ID NO: 501.
  138. 138. The method, composition or kit of any one of the preceding items, wherein any one of the reverse and forward primer sequences specific for the first, second or third target sequence is SEQ ID NO: 5.
  139. 139. The method, composition or kit of any one of the preceding items, wherein any one of the reverse and forward primer sequences specific for the first, second or third target sequence is SEQ ID NO: 441.
  140. 140. The method, composition or kit of any one of the preceding items, wherein any one of the reverse and forward primer sequences specific for the first, second or third target sequence is SEQ ID NO: 100.
  141. 141. The method, composition or kit of any one of the preceding items, wherein any one of the reverse and forward primer sequences specific for the first, second or third target sequence is SEQ ID NO: 337.
  142. 142. The method, composition or kit of any one of the preceding items, wherein any one of the reverse and forward primer sequences specific for the first, second or third target sequence is SEQ ID NO: 160.
  143. 143. The method, composition or kit of any one of the preceding items, wherein any one of the reverse and forward primer sequences specific for the first, second or third target sequence is SEQ ID NO: 468.
  144. 144. The method, composition or kit of any one of the preceding items, wherein any one of the reverse and forward primer sequences specific for the first, second or third target sequence is SEQ ID NO: 4.
  145. 145. The method, composition or kit of any one of the preceding items, wherein the probe is SEQ ID NO: 565.
  146. 146. The method, composition or kit of any one of the preceding items, wherein the probe is SEQ ID NO: 599.
  147. 147. The method, composition or kit of any one of the preceding items, wherein the probe is SEQ ID NO: 971.
  148. 148. The method, composition or kit of any one of the preceding items, wherein the probe is SEQ ID NO: 930.
  149. 149. The method, composition or kit of any one of the preceding items, wherein the probe is SEQ ID NO: 1160.
  150. 150. The method, composition or kit of any one of the preceding items, wherein the probe is SEQ ID NO: 1106.
  151. 151. The method, composition or kit of any one of the preceding items, wherein the probe is SEQ ID NO: 1203.
  152. 152. The method, composition or kit of any one of the preceding items, wherein the probe is SEQ ID NO: 1049.
  153. 153. The method, composition or kit of any one of the preceding items, wherein the probe is SEQ ID NO: 864.
  154. 154. The method, composition or kit of any one of the preceding items, wherein the probe is SEQ ID NO: 833.
  155. 155. The method, composition or kit of any one of the preceding items, wherein any one of the reverse and forward primer sequences specific for the first, second or third target sequence is SEQ ID NO: 320.
  156. 156. The method, composition or kit of any one of the preceding items, wherein any one of the reverse and forward primer sequences specific for the first, second or third target sequence is SEQ ID NO: 34.
  157. 157. The method, composition or kit of any one of the preceding items, wherein any one of the reverse and forward primer sequences specific for the first, second or third target sequence is SEQ ID NO: 423.
  158. 158. The method, composition or kit of any one of the preceding items, comprising a first forward primer of SEQ ID NO: 160 and a first reverse primer of SEQ ID NO: 468.
  159. 159. The method, composition or kit of item 134, further comprising a probe of SEQ ID NO: 1049.
  160. 160. The method, composition or kit of any one of the preceding items, comprising a second forward primer of SEQ ID NO: 100 and a second reverse primer of SEQ ID NO: 337.
  161. 161. The method, composition or kit of item 136, further comprising a probe of SEQ ID NO: 864.
  162. 162. The method, composition or kit of any one of the preceding items, comprising a third forward primer of SEQ ID NO: 211 and a third reverse primer of SEQ ID NO: 501 and/or 510.
  163. 163. The method, composition or kit of item 138, further comprising a probe of SEQ ID NO: 833.
  164. 164. The method, composition or kit of any one of the preceding items useful for amplifying and/or detecting a region of the ORFlab gene of SARS-CoV-2, comprising: a forward primer of SEQ ID NO: 160, a reverse primer of SEQ ID NO: 468, and a probe of SEQ ID NO: 1049.
  165. 165. The method, composition or kit of any one of the preceding items useful for amplifying and/or detecting a region of the S gene of SARS-CoV-2, comprising: a forward primer of SEQ ID NO: 100, a reverse primer of SEQ ID NO: 337, and a probe of SEQ ID NO: 864.
  166. 166. The method, composition or kit of any one of the preceding items useful for amplifying and/or detecting a region of the N gene of SARS-CoV-2, comprising: a forward primer of SEQ ID NO: 211, a reverse primer of SEQ ID NO: 501, and a probe of SEQ ID NO: 833.
  167. 167. The method, composition or kit of any one of the preceding items useful for amplifying and/or detecting a region of the N gene of SARS-CoV-2, comprising: a forward primer of SEQ ID NO: 211, a reverse primer of SEQ ID NO: 510, and a probe of SEQ ID NO: 833.
  168. 168. The method, composition or kit of any one of the preceding items useful for multiplex detection of target sequences derived from the S gene and the N gene of SARS-CoV-2, comprising:
    1. (i) a first forward primer of SEQ ID NO: 211, a first reverse primer of SEQ ID NO: 501, and a first probe of SEQ ID NO: 833; and
    2. (ii) a second forward primer of SEQ ID NO: 100, a second reverse primer of SEQ ID NO: 337, and a second probe of SEQ ID NO: 864.
  169. 169. The method, composition or kit of any one of the preceding items useful for multiplex detection of target sequences derived from the S gene and the N gene of SARS-CoV-2, comprising:
    1. (i) a first forward primer of SEQ ID NO: 211, a first reverse primer of SEQ ID NO: 510, and a first probe of SEQ ID NO: 833; and
    2. (ii) a second forward primer of SEQ ID NO: 100, a second reverse primer of SEQ ID NO: 337, and a second probe of SEQ ID NO: 864.
  170. 170. The method, composition or kit of any one of the preceding items useful for multiplex detection of target sequences derived from the S gene, N gene and ORFlab genes of SARS-CoV-2, comprising:
    1. (i) a first forward primer of SEQ ID NO: 160, a first reverse primer of SEQ ID NO: 468, and a first probe of SEQ ID NO: 1049;
    2. (ii) a second forward primer of SEQ ID NO: 100, a second reverse primer of SEQ ID NO: 337, and a second probe of SEQ ID NO: 864; and
    3. (iii) a third forward primer of SEQ ID NO: 211, a third reverse primer of SEQ ID NO: 501, and a third probe of SEQ ID NO: 833.
  171. 171. The method, composition or kit of any one of the preceding items useful for multiplex detection of target sequences derived from the S gene, N gene and ORF1ab genes of SARS-CoV-2, comprising:
    1. (i) a first forward primer of SEQ ID NO: 160, a first reverse primer of SEQ ID NO: 468, and a first probe of SEQ ID NO: 1049;
    2. (ii) a second forward primer of SEQ ID NO: 100, a second reverse primer of SEQ ID NO: 337, and a second probe of SEQ ID NO: 864; and
    3. (iii) a third forward primer of SEQ ID NO: 211, a third reverse primer of SEQ ID NO: 510, and a third probe of SEQ ID NO: 833.
  172. 172. The composition or kit of any one of the preceding items, further comprising a primer selected from SEQ ID NOs:252, 253, or 257.
  173. 173. The composition or kit of any one of the preceding items, further comprising a primer selected from SEQ ID NOs: 505 and 506.
  174. 174. The composition or kit of any one of the preceding items, further comprising a probe selected from SEQ ID NOs:1296 and 1297.
  175. 175. The composition or kit of any one of the preceding items, further comprising a primer selected from SEQ ID NOs:254 and 255.
  176. 176. The composition or kit of any one of the preceding items, further comprising a primer selected from SEQ ID NOs:507 and:508.
  177. 177. The composition or kit of any one of the preceding items, further comprising an oligonucleotide selected from SEQ ID NOs:1298 and 1299.
  178. 178. The composition or kit of any one of the preceding items, further comprising an oligonucleotide selected from SEQ ID NOs:2552 and 2553.
  179. 179. The composition or kit of any one of the preceding items, further comprising an oligonucleotide selected from SEQ ID NOs:2554, 2555 and 2556.
  180. 180. The composition or kit of any one of the preceding items, further comprising one or more oligonucleotides selected from SEQ ID NO:256, 509 and 1300.
  181. 181. The composition or kit of any one of the preceding items, wherein any one or more of the primers and probes includes a fluorescent dye label.
  182. 182. The composition or kit of any one of the preceding items, wherein any one or more of the primers and probes includes a fluorescent dye label selected from the group consisting of: VIC, ABY, FAM and JUN
  183. 183. A method for using the composition or kit of any one of the preceding items, comprising amplifying a target sequence using the composition or kit; and detecting the target sequence.
  184. 184. The method of item 183, further including determining whether a biological sample includes DNA or RNA from a virus.
  185. 185. The method of item 184, further including diagnosing a viral infection in the subject from which the biological sample was derived.
  186. 186. The method of item 185, further including diagnosing a specific viral infection in the subject from which the biological sample was derived.
  187. 187. The method of items any of items 183-186, further including ruling out a specific viral infection in the subject from which the biological sample was derived.
  188. 188. A method for the detection of the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus in a nucleic acid sample comprising:
    1. (a) creating a reaction mixture containing the sample, a forward primer and a reverse primer; and
    2. (b) subjecting the reaction mixture to reaction conditions suitable to perform a polymerase chain reaction (PCR).
  189. 189. The method of item 188, further including generating one or more amplicons via PCR.
  190. 190. The method of item 188 or 189, wherein the reaction mixture further includes a probe containing a fluorescent reporter and a corresponding quencher.
  191. 191. The method of any of items 188-190, further including monitoring and/or detecting the fluorescence produced during the PCR.
  192. 192. The method of item 191, further including determining the amount of nucleic acid present in the sample.
  193. 193. The method of item 188, wherein the forward primer and the reverse primer bind to a region of the coronavirus genome wherein the homology between the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus and the bat-SL-CoVZC45 coronavirus is less than 50%, 20%, 10% or 5%.
  194. 194. The method of item 193, wherein the region of the coronavirus having less than 50% homology between the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus and the bat-SL-CoVZC45 coronavirus is within the orflab gene, the S protein gene or the N protein gene of the coronavirus genome.
  195. 195. The method of item 193 or 194, wherein the forward primers are selected from SEQ ID NO. 4-SEQ ID NO. 251.
  196. 196. The method of item 193 or 194, where in the reverse primers are selected from SEQ ID NO. 267-SEQ ID NO. 504.
  197. 197. The method of item 193 or 194, wherein the probe sequence is selected from SEQ ID NO. 520-SEQ ID NO. 1295.
  198. 198. The method of item 197, wherein the probe is labeled at the 5' end with a dye selected from 6FAM, ABY, VIC, JUN and FAM
  199. 199. The method of item 198, wherein the probe is labeled at the 3' end with a quencher selected from QSY, BHQ (Black Hole Quencher) and DFQ (Dark Fluorescent Quencher).
  200. 200. The method of item 193 or 194, wherein a positive control and a negative control are analyzed in conjunction with the sample.
  201. 201. The method of item 200, where in the positive control is a synthetic plasmid comprising targets from the coronavirus orflab gene, the S protein gene, the N protein gene and RNase P.
  202. 202. A composition for detecting the presence of SARS-CoV-2 in a DNA sample, comprising a nucleic acid primer containing a nucleic acid sequence selected from the group comprising any of the primers disclosed herein.
  203. 203. The composition of item 202, wherein the nucleic acid primer is a first forward primer configured to hybridize to one end of a first target sequence within a first target region in the SARS-CoV-2 viral RNA genome, or to a complement of the first target sequence.
  204. 204. The composition of item 202, wherein the nucleic acid sequence of the target region is SEQ ID NO: 1.
  205. 205. The composition of item 202, wherein the nucleic acid sequence of the target region is SEQ ID NO: 2.
  206. 206. The composition of item 202, wherein the nucleic acid sequence of the target region is SEQ ID NO: 3.
  207. 207. The composition of item 202-206, further including a first reverse primer configured to hybridize to the other end of the first target sequence or its complement.
  208. 208. The composition of any of the preceding items, further including a nucleic acid sample, a polymerase, a buffer and nucleotides.
  209. 209. The composition of any of items 202-208, further including a first probe containing a fluorescent or other detectable label.
  210. 210. The composition of item 209, wherein the label of the first probe is a fluorescent label and the oligonucleotide probe further includes a quencher that quenches the fluorescent label.
  211. 211. The composition of item 209 or 210, wherein the first probe is configured to hybridize to a first target subsequence that is complementary or identical to at least 10 contiguous nucleotides within the first target sequence, a DNA copy thereof, or to a complement of the first target sequence or its DNA copy.
  212. 212. A composition for amplifying one or more target sequences in the SARS-CoV-2 genome, comprising: a first forward primer and a first reverse primer configured to amplify a first target sequence present in a first target region of the SARS-CoV-2 genome, wherein the first target sequence includes at least 10 contiguous nucleotides of the first target region, the first target region having less than 50%, 40%, 30%, 20% or 10% identity with bat-SL-CoVZC45 coronavirus and with SARS-CoV-2.
  213. 213. The composition of item 212, wherein the first forward primer and the first reverse primer are configured to hybridize to different ends of the first target sequence, a DNA copy thereof, or their respective complements.
  214. 214. The composition of item 212 or 213, wherein the nucleic acid sequence of the first target region is SEQ ID NO: 1.
  215. 215. The composition of item 212 or 213, wherein the nucleic acid sequence of the first target region is SEQ ID NO: 2.
  216. 216. The composition of item 212 or 213, wherein the nucleic acid sequence of the first target region is SEQ ID NO: 3.
  217. 217. The composition of any of items 212-217, further including a nucleic acid sample, a polymerase, a buffer and nucleotides.
  218. 218. The composition of any of items 212 to 217, further including a first probe containing a fluorescent or other detectable label.
  219. 219. The composition of item 218, wherein the label of the first probe is a fluorescent label and the probe further includes a quencher that quenches the fluorescent label.
  220. 220. The composition of item 218 or 219, wherein the first probe is configured to hybridize to a first target subsequence that is complementary or identical to at least 10 contiguous nucleotides of the first target sequence, a DNA copy thereof, or their respective complements.
  221. 221. The composition of any of items 212-220, further including a second forward primer and a second reverse primer configured to amplify a second target sequence within a second target region of the SARS-CoV-2 genome.
  222. 222. The composition of item 221, wherein the second forward primer and the second reverse primer are configured to bind to different ends of the second target sequence or to a cDNA complement thereof.
  223. 223. The composition of items 221 or 222, wherein the nucleic acid sequence of the first target region and the second target region are different and are selected from the group consisting of: SEQ ID NO: 1, SEQ ID NO: 2, and SEQ ID NO: 3.
  224. 224. The composition of items 221-223, further including a third forward primer and a third reverse primer configured to amplify a third target sequence within a third target region of the SARS-CoV-2 genome.
  225. 225. The composition of item 224, wherein the third forward primer and the third reverse primer are configured to bind to different ends of the third target sequence or to a DNA copy or DNA complement thereof.
  226. 226. The composition of items 224 and 225, wherein the nucleic acid sequence of the first target region, the second target region and the third target region are different and are selected from the group consisting of: SEQ ID NO: 1, SEQ ID NO: 2, and SEQ ID NO: 3.
  227. 227. The composition of item 226, wherein the primer sequences specific for the first target sequence are selected from SEQ ID NOs: 248 and 487, or 211 and 501.
  228. 228. The composition of item 226 or 227, wherein the primer sequences specific for the second target sequence are selected from SEQ ID NOs: 5 and 441, or 100 and 337.
  229. 229. The composition of any of items 226-228, wherein the primer sequences specific for the third target sequence are selected from SEQ ID NOs: 4 and 320, or 34 and 423, or 160 and 468.
  230. 230. A composition useful as an amplification control in a reaction to detect SARS-CoV-2 viral nucleic acids in a sample, comprising a linear or circular nucleic acid molecule including, in any order, at least one target sequence derived from the N gene of SARS-CoV-2, at least one further target sequence derived from the S gene of SARS-CoV-2, and at least one target sequence derived from the orflab gene of SARS-CoV-2.
  231. 231. A kit for detecting SARS-CoV-2 viral nucleic acid in a sample, comprising a composition of any of items 202-230, or any combinations thereof.
  232. 232. The kit of item 231, further including a master mix.
  233. 233. The kit of item 232, wherein the master mix is TaqMan Fast Virus 1-Step Master Mix or TaqPath 1-Step RT-qPCR Master Mix, CG.
  234. 234. The kit of any of items 231-233, wherein at least one of the components is dried or freeze dried.
  235. 235. The kit of any of items 231-234, further including an array of qPCR assays, each qPCR assay situated in a different locus of the array.
  236. 236. The kit of item 235, wherein the different locus includes a well, channel, groove, cavity, site or feature on the surface of the array.
  237. 237. A method of detecting SARS-CoV-2 viral nucleic acid present in a sample, comprising:

    (c) providing a composition according to any of items 202-230;

    (d) forming a reaction volume by contacting the composition, in any order or combination, with a polymerase, nucleotides and a sample obtained from bodily tissue taken from an organism; and

    (e) forming one or more amplification products containing amplified coronaviral sequences in the reaction volume, wherein the forming includes subjecting the reaction volume to amplification conditions suitable to amplify target coronaviral sequences from coronaviral nucleic acid, wherein the coronaviral nucleic acid are present in the sample prior to amplification.

  238. 238. The method of item 237, further including detecting at least one of the amplification products during or after the forming step.
  239. 239. The method of item 238, further including diagnosing a coronaviral infection in the organism.
  240. 240. The method of items 237-239, wherein the organism is a human patient and the coronaviral nucleic acid is derived from SARS-CoV-2.
  241. 241. The method of items 237-240, wherein the forming includes amplifying at least three different coronaviral target sequences from the coronaviral nucleic acid.
  242. 242. The method of item 241, wherein the at least three different coronaviral target sequences include one target sequence derived from the N gene, one target sequence derived from the S gene, and one target sequence derived from the orflab gene.











































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































Claims

1. A composition for amplifying three different target sequences in the SARS-CoV-2 genome, comprising:

(a) a first forward primer and a first reverse primer configured to amplify a first target sequence present in a first target region of the SARS-CoV-2 genome, wherein the first target sequence includes at least 10 contiguous nucleotides of the first target region;

(b) a second forward primer and a second reverse primer configured to amplify a second target sequence present in a second target region of the SARS-CoV-2 genome, wherein the second target sequence includes at least 10 contiguous nucleotides of the second target region; and

(c) a third forward primer and a third reverse primer configured to amplify a third target sequence present in a third target region of the SARS-CoV-2 genome, wherein the third target sequence includes at least 10 contiguous nucleotides of the third target region;

wherein the first, second and third target regions each have less than 50% similarity with an analogous region in bat-SL-CoVZC45.
 
2. The composition of claim 1, wherein the first target region is SEQ ID NO: 1.
 
3. The composition of claims 1 and 2, wherein the second target region is SEQ ID NO: 2.
 
4. The composition of any of the preceding claims, wherein the third target region is SEQ ID NO: 3.
 
5. The composition of claim 1, wherein the first target region is within the N gene of SARS-CoV-2.
 
6. The composition of claim 1 or 5, wherein the second target region is within the S gene of SARS-CoV-2.
 
7. The composition of claim 1, 5, or 6, wherein the third target region is within the ORF1ab gene of SARS-CoV-2.
 
8. The composition of any of the preceding claims, further including a nucleic acid sample, a polymerase, a buffer and nucleotides.
 
9. The composition of any of the preceding claims, further including a first probe containing a first label that is a fluorescent or other detectable label.
 
10. The composition of claim 9, wherein the first label of the first probe is a fluorescent label and the probe further includes a quencher that quenches the fluorescent label.
 
11. The composition of claims 9 or 10, further including a second probe including a second fluorescent label and a third probe including a third fluorescent label.
 
12. The composition of any of the preceding claims, wherein the first forward primer and the first reverse primer are selected from SEQ ID NOs: 248 and 487, or 211 and 501 or 510.
 
13. The composition of any of the preceding claims, wherein the second forward primer and the second reverse primer are selected from SEQ ID NOs: 5 and 441, or 100 and 337.
 
14. The composition of any of the preceding claims, wherein the third forward primer and the third reverse primer are selected from SEQ ID NOs: 4 and 320, or 34 and 423, or 160 and 468.
 
15. The composition of any of the preceding claims, further including a positive control for amplification, wherein the positive control is a synthetic plasmid comprising target regions from the SARS-CoV-2 ORF1ab gene, the S protein gene and the N protein gene.
 
16. A method for detecting SARS-CoV-2 in a biological sample, comprising:

(a) providing a reaction mixture containing at least a portion of the biological sample and any of the compositions of the preceding claims;

(b) subjecting the reaction mixture to amplification conditions, thereby forming one or more amplification products; and

(c) detecting at least one of the amplification products.


 




Drawing





































Search report












Search report




Cited references

REFERENCES CITED IN THE DESCRIPTION



This list of references cited by the applicant is for the reader's convenience only. It does not form part of the European patent document. Even though great care has been taken in compiling the references, errors or omissions cannot be excluded and the EPO disclaims all liability in this regard.

Patent documents cited in the description




Non-patent literature cited in the description