Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) infection has led to a pandemic of acute respiratory disease, namely coronavirus disease (COVID-19). This disease threatens human health and public safety. Early diagnosis, isolation, and prevention are important to suppress the outbreak of COVID 19 given the lack of specific antiviral drugs to treat this disease and the emergence of various variants of the virus that cause breakthrough infections even after vaccine administration. Simple and prompt testing is paramount to preventing further spread of the virus. However, current testing methods, namely RT-PCR, is time-consuming. Binding of the SARS-CoV-2 spike (S) glycoprotein to human angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (hACE2) receptor plays a pivotal role in host cell entry. In the present study, we developed a hACE2 mimic peptide beacon (COVID19-PEB) for simple detection of SARS-CoV-2 using a fluorescence resonance energy transfer system. COVID19-PEB exhibits minimal fluorescence in its ‘‘closed’’ hairpin structure; however, in the presence of SARS-CoV-2, the specific recognition of the S protein receptor-binding domain by COVID19-PEB causes the beacon to assume an ‘‘open’’ structure that emits strong fluorescence. COVID19-PEB can detect SARS-CoV-2 within 3 h or even 50 min and exhibits strong fluorescence even at low viral concentrations, with a detection limit of 4 × 103 plaque-forming unit/test. Furthermore, in SARS-CoV-2-infected patient samples confirmed using polymerase chain reaction, COVID19-PEB accurately detected the virus. COVID19-PEB could be developed as a rapid and accurate diagnostic tool for COVID-19.
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All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- General Chemistry
- Environmental Chemistry
- General Chemical Engineering
- Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering