Deployable CRISPR-Cas13a diagnostic tools to detect and report Ebola and Lassa virus cases in real-time

Kayla G. Barnes, Anna E. Lachenauer, Adam Nitido, Sameed Siddiqui, Robin Gross, Brett Beitzel, Katherine J. Siddle, Catherine A. Freije, Bonnie Dighero-Kemp, Samar B. Mehta, Amber Carter, Jessica Uwanibe, Fehintola Ajogbasile, Testimony Olumade, Ikponmwosa Odia, John Demby Sandi, Mambu Momoh, Hayden C. Metsky, Chloe K. Boehm, Aaron E. LinMolly Kemball, Daniel J. Park, Luis Branco, Matt Boisen, Brian Sullivan, Mihret F. Amare, Abdulwasiu B. Tiamiyu, Zahra F. Parker, Michael Iroezindu, Donald S. Grant, Kayvon Modjarrad, Cameron Myhrvold, Robert F. Garry, Gustavo Palacios, Lisa E. Hensley, Stephen F. Schaffner, Christian T. Happi, Andres Colubri, Pardis C. Sabeti

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

96 Scopus citations


Recent outbreaks of viral hemorrhagic fevers (VHFs), including Ebola virus disease (EVD) and Lassa fever (LF), highlight the urgent need for sensitive, deployable tests to diagnose these devastating human diseases. Here we develop CRISPR-Cas13a-based (SHERLOCK) diagnostics targeting Ebola virus (EBOV) and Lassa virus (LASV), with both fluorescent and lateral flow readouts. We demonstrate on laboratory and clinical samples the sensitivity of these assays and the capacity of the SHERLOCK platform to handle virus-specific diagnostic challenges. We perform safety testing to demonstrate the efficacy of our HUDSON protocol in heat-inactivating VHF viruses before SHERLOCK testing, eliminating the need for an extraction. We develop a user-friendly protocol and mobile application (HandLens) to report results, facilitating SHERLOCK’s use in endemic regions. Finally, we successfully deploy our tests in Sierra Leone and Nigeria in response to recent outbreaks.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number4131
JournalNature communications
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 1 2020
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General
  • General Physics and Astronomy
  • General Chemistry
  • General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology


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