The National Institute of Standards and Technology has developed a reference material to aid in the evaluation and development of RT-qPCR assays for SARS-CoV-2. The reference material consists of two synthetic RNA fragments from the SARS-CoV-2 genome in a background of 5 ng/μL human Jurkat RNA (stored at –80° C, BSL-1). Fragment 1, which has a total length of 3,985 nucleotides, and includes SARS-CoV-2 sequence 25949-29698 of isolate USA-WA1/2020; and Fragment 2, which has a total length of 3,790 nucleotides and includes SARS-CoV-2 sequence 12409-15962 of isolate USA-WA1/2020.
NIST said the synthetic fragments can be used to assess limits of detection for SARS-CoV-2 assays or calibrate other in-house or commercial SARS-CoV-2 controls. NIST characterized the material by size and using multiple reverse transcription droplet-digital PCR and qPCR methods. The agency is making the material free of charge through funding from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act, in exchange for user feedback to help improve and further develop the material.