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We offer dithiothreitol (DTT) for the sample preparation of PCR diagnostic tests for COVID-19

August 4, 2020
Covid tests

The importance of testing in combating COVID-19

Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, the World Health Organisation has emphasised the importance of viral testing to detect and isolate new cases and their contacts and suppress transmission. This has therefore led to a huge demand for test kits that challenges the production capacity worldwide.

Types of COVID-19 testing

There are two different types of tests, diagnostic and antibody. A diagnostic test shows if you are actively infected by coronavirus, while an antibody test can tell if someone has been infected by the virus in the past.

There are two types of diagnostic tests, molecular and antigen. Molecular tests use polymerase chain reaction (PCR) technology, a process that detects viral genetic material.

What is Dithiothreitol?

Dithiothreitol (DTT) is a well-known small-molecule redox reagent, widely used for the reduction of disulfide bridges in proteins. It is also known as Cleland's reagent and it has various applications in biotechnology, biology, and biochemistry.

Dithiothreitol is a particularly strong reducing agent with a redox potential of -0.33 V at pH 7. Once in its oxidized state, it forms a stable six-membered ring structure with an internal disulfide bond.

How is dithiothreitol (DTT) involved in the testing procedure?

Samples in molecular testing are treated with special chemicals, called primers and probes, that will allow the conversion of the virus’s RNA into DNA and its final extraction. Due to the mucoid and mucopurulent, and therefore, viscous nature of sputum specimen, a pre-processing of the sample, with the use of DTT, is recommended before extraction. A protocol provided by the CDC and evaluated for COVID-19 for the processing of sputum samples is available by the CDC in the following link: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/downloads/processing-sputum-specimens.pdf (CDC, 2020).