Portable Covid-19 test that gives results in 30 minutes
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Researchers at the University of Illinois are developing the prototype of a rapid Covid-19 molecular test and a simple-to-use, portable instrument that can be used for reading the results with a smartphone in 30 minutes.

This could enable point-of-care diagnosis without needing to send samples to a lab, as per the university’s official release.

Rashid Bashir, a professor of bioengineering and the dean of the Grainger College of Engineering at Illinois, said in a statement: “If such a device and test were available, we could test for Covid-19 at public events, auditoriums, large gatherings and potentially even at home for self-testing.”

“The results could be sent back to the appropriate public health system for coordination,” he added.

Illinois team used a simpler process to analyse the viral transport media, called LAMP, which bypasses the RNA extraction and purification steps.

“LAMP only needs one temperature – 65°C – so it is much easier to control,” said the first author of the study.

“Also, LAMP works more robustly than PCR, especially when there are contaminants in the test sample. We can just briefly heat the sample, break open the virus, and detect the genetic sequence that specifically identifies SARS-CoV-2,” author added.

The researchers demonstrated the portable device with additional clinical samples and found the results matched those of the standard PCR lab procedure.

The researchers are now exploring whether the assay would work with saliva samples to eliminate the need for nasopharyngeal swabs, and collecting more patient data as they consider the next steps for regulatory approvals, Bashir said.

Source: https://news.illinois.edu/view/6367/241622493
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