Ultra-High Sensitivity RT-PCR for Viral Genome Sequencing

Case ID:

University of Arizona researchers have developed a novel process for genome sequencing RDA-DNA fragments, such as would be present in archived or damaged biological samples. The process utilizes large panels of primers to amplify short RNA-DNA fragments into separate and off-set pools. These off-set pools of amplicons are used to reconstruct whole and near-whole genomic sequences in samples otherwise deemed non-useful.


When performing conventional polymerase chain reaction (PCR) testing for genomic sequencing, some poor-quality biological samples are deemed "negative" or unusable. However, this result may be caused by RNA/DNA fragments which are simply too short and fragmented, or too unique, for conventional methods to identify. This material may currently be relegated to non-analysis. This invention enables analysis of samples comprising low concentrations or degraded nucleic acid, samples with sought-after rare mutations, formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded (FFPE), or generally, any poor-quality samples where conventional PCR methods have failed.



  • Amplification and genomic sequencing of material in biologic samples that are damaged or of poor quality
  • Viral or infectious disease screening
  • Full genomic sequencing in archive samples
  • Clinical diagnostics
  • Vaccine research
  • COVID-19 viral screening, diagnostics, and vaccine research


  • More sensitive than conventional RT-PCR testing
  • Cheaper than next generation sequencing (NGS), which is expensive and limited in application
  • Successful in low viral load samples
Patent Information:
Contact For More Information:
Laura Silva
Sr. Licensing Manager, COS
The University of Arizona
Lead Inventor(s):
Michael Worobey
Thomas Watts