An introduction to COVID-19 LAMP Testing

9 November 2020

An introduction to SARS-CoV-2 LAMP Testing

As England’s healthcare service moves to its highest alert level, COVID-19 cases are once again threatening to overwhelm the capabilities of local health systems. Global requirements for reliable, accurate and safe COVID-19 testing products is a key priority for Santé.

Throughout the pandemic, rapid and accurate diagnosis of the virus has played a crucial role in controlling and preventing the spread of the SARS-CoV-2 virus, enabling the identification of infected individuals and subsequent isolation and contract tracing. The current standard method for coronavirus detection is the reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) method. However as governments continue to prioritise the need for rapid increases in testing capacity, LAMP testing has emerged as a great alternative to this method.

In order to continue fighting against the spread of the virus, Santé is committed to providing solutions for gold-standard testing. Working with a comprehensive selection of validated manufacturers, we have been able to secure production capacity for the new LAMP testing kit.

LAMP Testing: A simplified six step process

LAMP is an acronym for Loop-mediated Isothermal Amplification

LAMP is an acronym for Loop-mediated Isothermal Amplification and is a single tube technique for the amplification of DNA. The process relies on DNA polymerase and a set of four to six primers, designed to recognise a total of six distinct sequences on the target DNA. It involves the design of assay primers and use of a strand-displacing polymerase to allow rapid amplification at a constant temperature without the need for thermal cycling.

The development of RT-LAMP for SARS-CoV-2 RNA was from scientists detecting clinical diagnostic swabs of human patients, without RNA purification steps. The simplicity of detecting SARS-CoV-2 without an elaborated RNA extraction and purification step means LAMP testing can significantly reduce the number of professionals required for SARS-CoV-2 detection tests, therefore enabling an increase in the overall testing capacity.

Advantages of LAMP Testing:

The advantages of the new LAMP testing procedure are both numerous and unique – giving it an edge when compared with alternative methods for amplifying target nucleic acids.

  • The simplicity and reduction in process steps is possibly the largest benefit to LAMP testing. As it is a single tube technique, it offers a simple and low-cost alternative to already established amplification tools such as PCR. As LAMP is an isothermal process, the testing can be conducted without the need for expensive thermocyclers, as required for PCR. Without the constant changes of temperatures with PCR, it allows for a simple and easy selection of genes which makes for a more rapid selection process.
  • LAMP testing as a process is easy to perform. It requires four primers, plus a strand displacing DNA polymerase alongside an instrument that can maintain a constant temperature. Therefore the process doesn’t face the issue suffered by alternative nucleic acid amplification methods, since LAMP is highly specific for the target sequence. These factors make the test particularly suitable as the basis for a point-of sample molecular testing system.
  • LAMP testing has the advantage of the high accuracy found in the PCR process, however alongside a far more rapid diagnosis method which enables the possibility of examining a much larger amount of samples in the same period of time.
  • LAMP testing allows for a certain degree of flexibility in that collection can be either extraction through the nasal cavity, blood or saliva. Saliva collection is an easy process where the individual can extract their own saliva, therefore limiting the possibility of infecting medical personnel.

LAMP is a low-cost, rapid, highly selective and sensitive process.

Due to its simple, low-cost methodology, LAMP is fast becoming the preferred method of DNA amplification. Laboratory-based RT-PCR testing for SARS-Cov-2 requires complex facilities and elaborate training of operators, thus suffering from limited testing capacity and delayed results. In line with global requirements for reliable, accurate and safe COVID-19 testing products, Santé is offering a fully validated LAMP Test, in line with our gold standard approach to SARS-CoV-2 testing.

Get in touch with our microbiologists for tailored COVID-19 testing solutions, or visit our COVID-19 Testing page to view our end-to-end range. Comprehensive specifications, pricing and availability for LAMP Testing solutions are available upon request.