A fast, low-cost, robust and high-throughput method for viral nucleic acid isolation based on NAxtra magnetic nanoparticles

Sci Rep. 2023 Jul 20;13(1):11714. doi: 10.1038/s41598-023-38743-0.


The year of 2020 was profoundly marked by a global pandemic caused by a strain of coronavirus named severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), the etiological agent of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). To control disease spread, a key strategy adopted by many countries was the regular testing of individuals for infection. This led to the rapid development of diagnostic testing technologies. In Norway, within a week, our group developed a test kit to quickly isolate viral RNA and safely detect SARS-CoV-2 infection with sensitivity comparable to available kits. Herein, the procedure employed for the detection of SARS-CoV-2 in swab samples from patients using the NTNU-COVID-19 test kit is described in detail. This procedure, based on NAxtra magnetic nanoparticles and an optimized nucleic acid extraction procedure, is robust, reliable, and straightforward, providing high-quality nucleic acids within 14 min. The NAxtra protocol is adaptable and was further validated for extraction of DNA and RNA from other types of viruses. A comparison of the protocol on different liquid handling systems is also presented. Due to the simplicity and low cost of this method, implementation of this technology to diagnose virus infections on a clinical setting would benefit health care systems, promoting sustainability.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • COVID-19 Testing
  • COVID-19* / diagnosis
  • Humans
  • Magnetite Nanoparticles*
  • Nucleic Acids*
  • RNA, Viral / genetics
  • SARS-CoV-2 / genetics
  • Sensitivity and Specificity


  • Nucleic Acids
  • Magnetite Nanoparticles
  • RNA, Viral