New smartphone based portable test may detect Covid 19 in 30 minutes
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. -- Tests for the novel coronavirus can take days to detect the virus from nasal swabs with RT PCR method. There is an urgent need to devise tests that give results rapidly instead of labor- and time-intensive laboratory preparation and analysis techniques.Researchers have demonstrated an inexpensive yet sensitive smartphone-based testing device for viral and bacterial...
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. -- Tests for the novel coronavirus can take days to detect the virus from nasal swabs with RT PCR method. There is an urgent need to devise tests that give results rapidly instead of labor- and time-intensive laboratory preparation and analysis techniques.
Researchers have demonstrated an inexpensive yet sensitive smartphone-based testing device for viral and bacterial pathogens that takes about 30 minutes to complete. The roughly $50 smartphone accessory could reduce the pressure on testing laboratories during a pandemic such as COVID-19.
The results of the new multi-institutional study have been reported in the journal Lab on a Chip.
"The challenges associated with rapid pathogen testing contribute to a lot of uncertainty regarding which individuals are quarantined and a whole host of other health and economic issues," Cunningham said.
The study began with the goal of detecting a panel of viral and bacterial pathogens in horses, including those that cause severe respiratory illnesses similar to those presented in COVID-19, the researchers said.
"Horse pathogens can lead to devastating diseases in animal populations, of course, but one reason we work with them has to do with safety. The horse pathogens in our study are harmless to humans," Cunningham said.
The new testing device is comprised of a small cartridge containing testing reagents and a port to insert a nasal extract or blood sample, the researchers said. The whole unit clips to a smartphone.
Inside the cartridge, the reagents break open a pathogen's outer shell to gain access to its RNA. A primer molecule then amplifies the genetic material into many millions of copies in about 10 or 15 minutes, the researchers said. A fluorescent dye stains the copies and glows green when illuminated by blue LED light, which is then detected by the smartphone's camera.
"This test can be performed rapidly on passengers before getting on a flight, on people going to a theme park or before events like a conference or concert," Cunningham said. "Cloud computing via a smartphone application could allow a negative test result to be registered with event organizers or as part of a boarding pass for a flight. Or, a person in quarantine could give themselves daily tests, register the results with a doctor, and then know when it's safe to come out and rejoin society."
There are a few preparatory steps currently performed outside of the device, and the team is working on a cartridge that has all of the reagents needed to be a fully integrated system. Other researchers at the U. of I. are using the novel coronavirus genome to create a mobile test for COVID-19, and making an easily manufactured cartridge that Cunningham said would improve testing efforts.
For further reference log on to:
Dr Kamal Kant Kohli-MBBS, DTCD- a chest specialist with more than 30 years of practice and a flair for writing clinical articles, Dr Kamal Kant Kohli joined Medical Dialogues as a Chief Editor of Medical News. Besides writing articles, as an editor, he proofreads and verifies all the medical content published on Medical Dialogues including those coming from journals, studies,medical conferences,guidelines etc. Before Joining Medical Dialogues, he has served at important positions in the medical industry in India including as the Hony. Secretary of the Delhi Medical Association as well as the chairman of Anti-Quackery Committee in Delhi and worked with other Medical Councils in India. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org. Contact no. 011-43720751