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Room-temperature-storable PCR Mixes for SARS-CoV-2 Detection

By Jiasu Xu, Jin Wang, Zecheng Zhong, Xiaosong Su, Kunyu Yang, Zhongfu Chen, Dongxu Zhang, Tingdong Li, Yingbin Wang, Shiyin Zhang, Shengxiang Ge, Jun Zhang, Ningshao Xia

Posted 09 Apr 2020
bioRxiv DOI: 10.1101/2020.04.07.029934 (published DOI: 10.1016/j.clinbiochem.2020.06.013)

A novel coronavirus (severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2, SARS-CoV-2) emerged in late 2019, causing an outbreak of pneumonia [coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19)] in Wuhan, China, which then rapidly spread globally. Although the use of ready-made reaction mixes can enable more rapid PCR-based diagnosis of COVID-19, the need to transport and store these mixes at low temperatures presents challenges to already overburdened logistics networks. Here, we present an optimized freeze-drying procedure that allows SARS-CoV-2 PCR mixes to be transported and stored at ambient temperatures, without loss of activity. Additive-supplemented PCR mixes were freeze-dried. The residual moisture of the freeze-dried PCR mixes was measured by Karl-Fischer titration. We found that freeze-dried PCR mixes with ~1.2% residual moisture are optimal for storage, transport, and reconstitution. The sensitivity, specificity, and repeatability of the freeze-dried reagents were similar to those of freshly prepared, wet reagents. The freeze-dried mixes retained activity at room temperature (18~25℃) for 28 days, and for 14 and 10 days when stored at 37℃ and 56℃, respectively. The uptake of this approach will ease logistical challenges faced by transport networks and make more cold storage space available at diagnosis and hospital laboratories. This method can also be applied to the generation of freeze-dried PCR mixes for the detection of other pathogens. ### Competing Interest Statement

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