Strategies That Facilitate Extraction-Free SARS-CoV-2 Nucleic Acid Amplification Tests

Viruses. 2022 Jun 15;14(6):1311. doi: 10.3390/v14061311.


The COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in an unprecedented global demand for in vitro diagnostic reagents. Supply shortages and hoarding have impacted testing capacity which has led to inefficient COVID-19 case identification and transmission control, predominantly in developing countries. Traditionally, RNA extraction is a prerequisite for conducting SARS-CoV-2 nucleic acid amplification tests (NAAT); however, simplified methods of sample processing have been successful at bypassing typical nucleic acid extraction steps, enabling extraction-free SARS-CoV-2 NAAT workflows. These methods involve chemical and physical approaches that are inexpensive and easily accessible alternatives to overcome extraction kit supply shortages, while offering acceptable test performance. Here we provide an overview of three main sample preparation strategies that have been shown to facilitate extraction-free SARS-CoV-2 NAATs.

Keywords: COVID-19; NAAT; RT-PCR; SARS-CoV-2; diagnostics; isothermal amplification; nucleic acid extraction.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • COVID-19 Testing
  • COVID-19* / diagnosis
  • Humans
  • Molecular Diagnostic Techniques / methods
  • Nucleic Acid Amplification Techniques / methods
  • Pandemics
  • RNA, Viral / genetics
  • SARS-CoV-2* / genetics
  • Sensitivity and Specificity


  • RNA, Viral

Grant support

This research received no external funding.