CRISPR-based nucleic acid diagnostics for pathogens

13 December 2022, Version 1
This content is a preprint and has not undergone peer review at the time of posting.


Pathogenic infections remain the primary threat for human health, especially the global COVID-19 pandemic. It is important to develop rapid, sensitive and multiplexed tools for detecting pathogens and their mutations, particularly the tailor-made strategies for point-of-care diagnosis allowing for use in resource-constrained settings. The rapidly evolving CRISPR/Cas systems have provided a powerful toolbox for pathogenic diagnostics via nucleic acid tests. In this review, we first describe the resultant promising class 2 (single, multidomain effector) and recently explored class 1 (multisubunit effector complexes) CRISPR tools. We present the diverse engineering nucleic acid diagnostics based on CRISPR/Cas systems for pathogenic viruses, bacteria and fungi, and highlight the application for detecting viral variants and drug-resistant bacteria enabled by CRISPR-based mutation profiling. Finally, we discuss the challenges such as the development of preamplification-free diagnostic assays and present the emerging CRISPR systems and CRISPR cascade that potentially enable multiplexed and preamplification-free pathogenic diagnostics.


SARS-CoV-2 variants
drug resistance


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