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A Fast and Accessible Method for the Isolation of RNA, DNA, and Protein To Facilitate the Detection of SARS-CoV-2

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Management of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic requires widespread testing for severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). A main limitation for widespread SARS-CoV-2 testing is the global shortage of essential supplies, among them RNA extraction kits. The need for commercial RNA extraction kits places a bottleneck on tests that detect SARS-CoV-2 genetic material, including PCR-based reference tests. Here, we propose an alternative method we call PEARL (precipitation-enhanced analyte retrieval) that addresses this limitation. PEARL uses a lysis solution that disrupts cell membranes and viral envelopes while simultaneously providing conditions suitable for alcohol-based precipitation of RNA, DNA, and proteins. PEARL is a fast, low-cost, and simple method that uses common laboratory reagents and offers performance comparable to that of commercial RNA extraction kits. PEARL offers an alternative method to isolate host and pathogen nucleic acids and proteins to streamline the detection of DNA and RNA viruses, including SARS-CoV-2.

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