Simultaneous identification of viruses and viral variants with programmable DNA nanobait.
Bošković F., Zhu J., Tivony R., Ohmann A., Chen K., Alawami MF., Đorđević M., Ermann N., Pereira-Dias J., Fairhead M., Howarth M., Baker S., Keyser UF.
Respiratory infections are the major cause of death from infectious disease worldwide. Multiplexed diagnostic approaches are essential as many respiratory viruses have indistinguishable symptoms. We created self-assembled DNA nanobait that can simultaneously identify multiple short RNA targets. The nanobait approach relies on specific target selection via toehold-mediated strand displacement and rapid readout via nanopore sensing. Here we show that this platform can concurrently identify several common respiratory viruses, detecting a panel of short targets of viral nucleic acids from multiple viruses. Our nanobait can be easily reprogrammed to discriminate viral variants with single-nucleotide resolution, as we demonstrated for several key SARS-CoV-2 variants. Last, we show that the nanobait discriminates between samples extracted from oropharyngeal swabs from negative- and positive-SARS-CoV-2 patients without preamplification. Our system allows for the multiplexed identification of native RNA molecules, providing a new scalable approach for the diagnostics of multiple respiratory viruses in a single assay.