New COVID-19 Test Gives Positive Result In Just Few Minutes
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A study demonstrates the rapidity and sensitivity of their method using patient sample RNA provided by Public Health England. A researcher said, "We have designed a new method for testing that combines the ease of use and speed of lateral flow testing with the inherent sensitivity of an RNA test. It features reagents that can be used in existing point of care devices and meets the need for testing in high throughput, near-patient, settings where people may be waiting in line for their results."

The new test simplifies the method to a single step and uses an alternative amplification method called EXPAR (Exponential Amplification Reaction). This technique uses very short, single strands of DNA for the replication process, which can be completed in a matter of minutes, making a significant reduction in the overall time needed to produce results.

The entire test can be run on standard laboratory equipment at lower temperatures compared to PCR tests, which require higher temperatures to separate out strands of DNA as part of the amplification process.

While the method was developed specifically to reduce testing time and increase testing throughput in COVID-19 testing, in the long-term, the use of the EXPAR technology is expected to extend to other RNA-based viruses and infectious agents such as bacteria, as well as other diseases including cancer.

Source:
https://www.medrxiv.org/content/10.1101/2020.12.31.20248236v1.full-text
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