Studies on recombinant proteins have demonstrated the ability of Thermo Scientific's Vanquish MD HPLC and TSQ Altis MD to reliably and quickly detect six different COVID peptides from digested protein samples. Workflows were designed to mimic sample collection from both nasal pharyngeal swabs and spit-in-tube saliva collection, with incubation in VTM. In both cases, peptides from the nucleocapsid and spike proteins were detected at low/sub-femtomole on column concentrations. Absolute quantitation was also demonstrated including stable isotope-labeled standards. All data was collected in triplicate for a calibration range of 0.1 - 100 fmol and processed using TF TraceFinder LDT. The method was quick, taking around 2 hours from start to finish with a 4-minute LC/MS run-time, robust and cost-efficient (> $10 per sample).
Detection of intact virus from patient acquired positive samples (also using a TF TSQ Altis MD) has also been demonstrated by our collaborators at Fleury, São Paulo https://doi.org/10.1038/s41467-020-19925-0.