Effect of Heat inactivation on Real-Time Reverse Transcription PCR of the SARS-COV-2 Detection
liu, yanxia et al.
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Background: Real-time reverse transcription PCR (rRT-PCR) is commonly used to diagnose SARS-CoV-2 infection. Heat inactivation prior to nucleic acid isolation may allow safe testing, while the effects of heat inactivation on SARS-CoV-2 rRT-PCR detection result need to be determined. Methods: 14 positive nasopharyngeal swab specimens were inactivated at 56°C for 30min, 56°C for 60min, 60°C for 30min, 60°C for 75min, and 100°C for 10min, and another 2 positive nasopharyngeal swab specimens were also inactivated at 100°C for 10min, 100°C for 30min, 100°C for 60min, after which the samples were isolated and detected by rRT-PCR. Results: All 14 heat treated samples remained positive. The range of threshold cycle (Ct) values observed when detecting ORF1a/b was 27.228-34.011 in heat-treated samples, while 25.281-34.861 in unheated samples, and the range of threshold cycle (Ct) values observed at the time of detecting N was 25.777-33.351 in heat-treated samples, while 24.1615-35.433 in unheated samples, on basis of which it showed no statistical difference otherwise a good correlation of Ct values between the heat-inactivated samples and the untreated samples. However, the 2 samples inactivated at 100°C 30min, 100°C 60min turned into negative. Conclusions: Heat inactivation at 56°C for 30min, 56°C for 60min, 60°C for 30min, 60°C for 75min, and 100°C for 10min shall not affect the detection results of Real-Time Reverse Transcription PCR of the SARS-COV2. Furthermore, it is recommended to inactive nasopharyngeal swab specimens 10min at 100°C before RNA extraction in consideration of efficiency and reliable results. Key Words: SARS-CoV-2, Heat Inactivation, rRT-PCR, Comparison.