Author ORCID Identifier

Defense Date


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science


Microbiology & Immunology

First Advisor

Rebecca Martin


The prevalence and spread of the current COVID-19 pandemic have highlighted the importance of continual improvements upon current microbiological testing methods. Rapid and accurate testing can help mitigate spread by improving on the time to quarantine and quarantine duration required. As of the writing of this thesis, COVID-19 has been responsible for more than 500,000 deaths in the United States of America, and greater than 2 million deaths globally. The work done in this thesis has shown improvements in the current SARS-CoV-2 testing methodology by reducing the time it takes for patient testing while maintaining accuracy and the sensitivity required of a clinical assay. The protocol developed uses extraction-free RT-PCR testing as well as a rapid RT-PCR methodology. The assay can improve speed and maintain its specificity using probe-based detection for the SARS-CoV-2 N gene. This research provides a template for increasing the speed of testing for SAR-CoV-2 that can be applied to other infectious diseases and thereby help reduce the spread of future epidemics and pandemics.


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