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Year : 2020  |  Volume : 38  |  Issue : 3  |  Page : 451-456

Analysis of multi-sample pools in the detection of SARS-CoV-2 RNA for mass screening: An Indian perspective

Department of Microbiology, All India Institute of Medical Sciences, Rishikesh, Uttarakhand, India

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Deepjyoti Kalita
Department of Microbiology, All India Institute of Medical Sciences, Level 4, Virbhadra Road, Rishikesh - 249 203, Uttarakhand
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/ijmm.IJMM_20_273

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In the current COVID-19 crisis, many national healthcare systems are confronted with a huge demand for mass testing and an acute shortage of diagnostic resources. Considering group testing as a viable solution, this pilot study was carried out to find the maximum number of samples that can be pooled together to accurately detect one positive sample carrying the severe acute respiratory syndrome-coronavirus 2 viral RNA from different pools. We made different pool sizes ranging from 5 to 30 samples. Three positive samples, covering the common range of polymerase chain reaction (PCR) threshold cycle values (an indirect indicator of viral load) observed in our patients, were selected, and different pools were made with known negative samples. The pools underwent real-time qualitative PCR for the determination of effective maximum pool size. It was observed that up to 20-sample pools of all positive samples could accurately be detected in terms of both E gene and RdRp gene, leading to considerable conservation of resources, time and workforce. However, while deciding the optimal pool size, the infection level in that particular geographical area and sensitivity of the test assay used (limit of detection) have to be taken into account.


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2004 - Indian Journal of Medical Microbiology
Published by Wolters Kluwer - Medknow

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