Background: During the past two decades, three novel coronaviruses (CoVs) have emerged to cause international human epidemics with severe morbidity. CoVs have also emerged to cause severe epidemics in animals. A better understanding of the natural hosts and genetic diversity of CoVs are needed to help mitigate these threats. Objective: To design and evaluate a molecular diagnostic tool for detection and identification of all currently recognized and potentially future emergent CoVs from the Orthocoronavirinae subfamily. Study design and Results: We designed a semi-nested, reverse transcription RT-PCR assay based upon 38 published genome sequences of human and animal CoVs. We evaluated this assay with 14 human and animal CoVs and 11 other non-CoV respiratory viruses. Through sequencing the assay's target amplicon, the assay correctly identified each of the CoVs; no cross-reactivity with 11 common respiratory viruses was observed. The limits of detection ranged from 4 to 4 × 102 copies/reaction, depending on the CoV species tested. To assess the assay's clinical performance, we tested a large panel of previously studied specimens: 192 human respiratory specimens from pneumonia patients, 5 clinical specimens from COVID-19 patients, 81 poultry oral secretion specimens, 109 pig slurry specimens, and 31 aerosol samples from a live bird market. The amplicons of all RT-PCR-positive samples were confirmed by Sanger sequencing. Our assay performed well with all tested specimens across all sample types. Conclusions: This assay can be used for detection and identification of all previously recognized CoVs, including SARS-CoV-2, and potentially any emergent CoVs in the Orthocoronavirinae subfamily.
|Original language||English (US)|
|Journal||Journal of Clinical Virology|
|State||Published - Jul 2020|
- Infectious diseases
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Infectious Diseases