DTECT 2.0: A Novel Approach for Rapid Detection of SARS CoV-2 Variants of Concern

Diagnostics Life & Medical Sciences Research Tools
Tech ID #: 1513.1 

Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), the virus causing COVID-19, has been responsible for millions of deaths and infections globally. Furthermore, variants of concern have emerged, which are more transmissible and can enhance disease severity. Current detection of SARS-CoV-2 relies on RT-PCR, but this method is unable to detect variants. Therefore, surveillance of variants relies on genetic sequencing, but this method is expensive, slow and has a high error rate. More rapid detection methods that use mutation-specific primers and probes have low specificity.  

Researchers at the University of Calgary, led by Dr. Pierre Billon, have established a versatile and sequencing-free approach for the capture-based detection of dinucleotide signatures: Enhanced Dinucleotide signaTurE CapTure (DTECT). It is  a single-step, one-pot capture assay that requires less than 10 minutes to detect SARS-CoV-2 variants of concern. The method is efficient, highly precise, and allows quantitative and qualitative detection of SARS-CoV-2 variants of concern, and offers a robust alternative molecular diagnostic tool.  



  • Detection of SARS-CoV-2 variants of concern  
  • Detection of genetic variations in other human pathogens  
  • Detection of signatures in cancer biopsies  
  • Quantitative assessment of precision genome editing  



  • Rapid and cost-effective detection of SARS-CoV-2 variants 
  • Single-step, one-pot capture assay with no experimenter intervention needed  
  • Ligation-based approach confers a high specificity and comparable precision to next-generation sequencing  
  • Multiple independent detection kits to accommodate various detection modalities – (quantitative, qualitative, visual and fluorescence) for clinical labs or point-of-care testing  
  • Contains internal positive and negative controls 
  • Platform technology for detection of other human pathogen variants, cancer variants, and assessment of precision genome editing 



  • Tested on clinical samples  



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