Home >Science >Health >New portable COVID-19 test kit gives results in 30 minutes
This diagnostic kit can be developed within a week, according to reports.  (AP)
This diagnostic kit can be developed within a week, according to reports. (AP)

New portable COVID-19 test kit gives results in 30 minutes

  • The method is as accurate as the current PCR diagnostic test, the scientists claimed
  • Using the new technology, the researchers found the SARS-CoV-2 virus RNA, the cause of COVID-19, from an actual patient sample in about 30 minutes

Researchers at the Pohang University of Science & Technology (POSTECH) in South Korea have developed a new method that can detect coronavirus in just 30 minutes. The method is as accurate as the current PCR diagnostic test, the scientists claimed. Based on the RNA sequence of the virus, the "quick and easy" testing method — SENSR technology will reduce "the stress on one single testing location and avoiding contact with infected patients as much as possible," according to reports.

This diagnostic kit can be developed within a week, according to the research published in the journal the Nature Biomedical Engineering.

The test can to produce nucleic acid binding reaction to show fluorescence only when COVID-19 RNA is present. The virus can be detected immediately without any preparation process with high sensitivity in a short time, the study showed. RNA is a nucleic acid that mediates genetic information or is involved in controlling the expression of genes.

Using the new technology, the researchers found the SARS-CoV-2 virus RNA, the cause of COVID-19, from an actual patient sample in about 30 minutes. Moreover, five pathogenic viruses and bacterial RNAs were detected which proved the kit's usability in detecting pathogens other than COVID-19, according to the researchers.

The PCR molecular test currently used for COVID-19 diagnosis, has very high accuracy but entails a complex preparation process to extract or refine the virus, the researchers noted. The test is not suitable for use in small farming or fishing villages, or airport or drive-thru screening clinics as it requires expensive equipment as well as skilled experts, the scientists said.

The method not only allows onsite diagnosis before going to the screening clinic or being hospitalised, but also allows for a more proactive response to COVID-19 by supplementing the current centralized diagnostic system.

"This method is a fast and simple diagnostic technology which can accurately analyse the RNA without having to treat a patient's sample," said POSTECH Professor Jeong Wook Lee.

(With input from agencies)


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