Researchers have developed two new rapid diagnostic tests, COVID-19

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Researchers at the University of Minnesota School of Medicine have developed two new rapid diagnostic tests for COVID-19 – one to detect variants of COVID-19 and one that helps differentiate it from other diseases that have symptoms similar to COVID-19. The findings were recently published in the journal Bioengineering.

Although many people are hoping for vaccines against COVID-19, it is predicted that the widespread vaccine will not be available until a few months later. Until this happens, the ability to diagnose COVID-19 quickly and accurately is crucial to reduce loss of life and the continuous spread of the virus.

The technology for both tests uses a state-of-the-art CRISPR / Cas9 system. Using commercial reagents, they describe a Cas-9-based methodology for nucleic acid detection using lateral flow assays and fluorescent signal generation.

The first test is a rapid diagnostic test that can distinguish variants of COVID-19. This test can be reported without specialized expertise or equipment. It uses technology similar to pregnancy testing at home and gives results in about an hour.

A second, more sensitive test allows researchers to simultaneously analyze the same sample for COVID-19 (SARS-CoV-2), influenza A and B, and respiratory syncytial virus by measuring fluorescence. These viruses manifest with similar symptoms, so the ability to detect and differentiate adds a new diagnostic tool to slow the spread of COVID-19. This test also takes about an hour and could be easily adjusted, so many more tests can be done. The necessary equipment is present in most diagnostic laboratories and many research laboratories.

“The approval of SARS-CoV-2 is very promising, but the time between the first doses and population immunity can be several months,” said Dr. Mark J. Osborn, assistant professor of pediatrics at the University of Minnesota School of Medicine and the first author of this paper. “This testing platform can help bridge the gap between immunization and immunity.”

In collaboration with the Medical Institute Ma et al. Jakub Tolar, Dean of M School of Medicine, Osborn and his team are now working to improve the sensitivity and actual application of this test in support of the rapid detection and identification of COVID-19 variants. To give healthcare providers and the public access to their new testing technology, researchers are currently exploring ways to increase and license their new diagnostics.

By the end of the year, Roche had released a rapid Covid-19 test in large quantities

More information:
Mark J. Osborn et al., Lateral flow and fluorescent diagnostics based on CRISPR / Cas9, Bioengineering (2021). DOI: 10.3390 / bioengineering8020023

Provided by the University of Minnesota School of Medicine

Citation: Researchers develop two new rapid diagnostic tests for COVID-19 (2021, February 23) downloaded February 23, 2021 from

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