The first test is a rapid diagnostic test that can differentiate between Covid-19 variants and can be performed without specialized expertise or equipment.
Tests to detect COVID-19 have not always been reliable and there have been many cases of false positives, especially during the early days of the pandemic. We have come a long way since and experts have worked hard to come up with new and better diagnostic kits for detection of the COVID-19 virus. Now, in the latest developments in the field, researchers from the University of Minnesota have developed two new rapid diagnostic tests for COVID-19 — one to detect COVID-19 variants and the other to help differentiate this disease from other illnesses that have similar symptoms. According to the findings published in the journal Bioengineering, the technology for both tests uses the cutting-edge CRISPR/Cas9 system. Also Read – Post Vaccination Deaths From Pfizer Is Far More Than From Astrazeneca Jabs: Sputnik Study
Bridging the gap between immunisation and immunity
Using commercial reagents, the researchers describe a Cas9-based methodology for nucleic acid detection using lateral flow assays and fluorescence signal generation. The approval and deployment of the SARS-CoV-2 vaccines are highly promising as is the mass vaccination drive going on in different parts of the world. But according to researchers, the time between first doses and population immunity may be months. This new testing platform can help bridge the gap between immunization and immunity. Also Read – At RS 600, Covishield most affordable COVID-19 vaccine in market today, says SII
Rapid diagnostic test to detect variants
The first test is a rapid diagnostic test that can differentiate between COVID-19 variants and can be performed without specialized expertise or equipment. This test uses technology, which is similar to at-home pregnancy testing and it produces results in about an hour. Also Read – It Is Not COVID-19 Wave, It's Actually Tsunami: Delhi HC On Rising Coronavirus Cases In India
Differentiating between similar symptoms in other diseases
The second, more sensitive test allows researchers to analyze the same sample simultaneously for Covid-19 (SARS-CoV-2), Influenza A and B and respiratory syncytial virus by measuring fluorescence. These viruses manifest with similar symptoms, so being able to detect and differentiate them adds a new diagnostic tool to slow the spread of COVID-19. This test also takes about an hour and could be easily scaled so many more tests can be performed. The team is now seeking to enhance sensitivity and real-world application of this test in support of rapidly detecting and identifying COVID-19 variants. In order to provide access to their new testing technology for healthcare providers and the public, the researchers are currently exploring ways to scale up and license their new diagnostics. (With inputs from IANS)