Large-scale implementation of pooled RNA-extraction and RT-PCR for SARS-CoV-2 detection
Ben-Ami, Roni et al.
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Testing for active SARS-CoV-2 infection is a fundamental tool in the public health measures taken to control the COVID-19 pandemic. Due to the overwhelming use of SARS-CoV-2 RT-PCR tests worldwide, availability of test kits has become a major bottleneck. Here we demonstrate pooling strategies to perform RNA extraction and RT-PCR in pools, significantly increasing throughput while maintaining clinical sensitivity. We implemented the method in a routine clinical diagnosis setting of asymptomatic populations, and already tested 5,464 individuals for SARS-CoV-2 using 731 RNA extraction and RT-PCR kits. We identified six SARS-CoV-2 positive patients corresponding to 0.11% of the tested population.