PerspectiveMedicine

CRISPR diagnostics

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Science  28 May 2021:
Vol. 372, Issue 6545, pp. 914-915
DOI: 10.1126/science.abi9335

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Summary

Although clinical diagnostics take many forms, nucleic acid–based testing has become the gold standard for sensitive detection of many diseases, including pathogenic infections. Quantitative polymerase chain reaction (qPCR) has been widely adopted for its ability to detect only a few DNA or RNA molecules that can unambiguously specify a particular disease. However, the complexity of this technique restricts application to laboratory settings. The severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) pandemic has underscored the need for the development and deployment of nucleic acid tests that are economical, easily scaled, and capable of being run in low-resource settings, without sacrifices in speed, sensitivity or specificity. CRISPR-based diagnostic (CRISPR-dx) tools offer a solution, and multiple CRISPR-dx products for detection of the SARS-CoV-2 RNA genome have been authorized by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA). On page 941 of this issue, Jiao et al. (1) describe a new CRISPR-based tool to distinguish several SARS-CoV-2 variants in a single reaction.

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