Evaluation of commercial qPCR kits for detection of SARS-CoV-2 in pooled samples

Due to the current pandemic, a global shortage of reagents has drawn interest in developing alternatives to increase the number of coronavirus tests. One such alternative is sample pooling. We compared commercial kits that are used in COVID-19 diagnostics in terms of their sensitivity and feasibility for use in pooling. In this preliminary study, we showed that pooling of up to 80 samples did not affect the efficacy of the kits. Additionally, the RNA-dependent RNA polymerase (RdRp) gene is a more suitable target in pooled samples than the envelope (E) gene. This approach could provide an easy method of screening a large number of samples and help adjust different governmental regulations.

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