Zhanfeng Cui, Wei Huang, and colleagues, University of Oxford, UK, and Oxford Suzhou Centre for Advanced Research (OSCAR), Suzhou, China, have developed an improved testing technology for the coronavirus SARS-CoV-2, which causes the current outbreak of COVID-19. The test is three times faster than currently used viral RNA tests and more sensitive.
The new method is based on a viral detection that can specifically recognize SARS-CoV-2 RNA and RNA fragments. It has built-in checks to prevent false positives or negatives. The test was validated with clinical samples from a Chinese hospital: The rapid detection kits were used on eight positive and eight negative samples, and the results have been confirmed by conventional reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) methods.
The new test takes only half an hour, compared to 1.5–2 hours for previous methods. Its high sensitivity could allow the detection of COVID-19 in earlier stages. The team is working on developing an integrated device for the test that could be used in the field or even at home.
- Oxford scientists develop rapid testing technology for COVID-19,
University of Oxford, UK, March 18, 2020.
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