New Portable COVID-19 Test That Gives Results In 30 Minutes

The method is as accurate as of the PCR diagnostic test according to the scientists

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 of the PCR diagnostic test.

It is based on the RNA sequence of the virus, and is a “quick and easy” testing method. According to reports, SENSR technology will help in reducing “the stress on one single testing location and avoiding contact with infected patients as much as possible. 

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

Research showed, only when COVID-19 RNA is present, the test can produce a nucleic acid binding reaction to show fluorescence and the virus can be detected immediately without any preparation process with high sensitivity in a short time. 

RNA is a nucleic acid that mediates genetic information or is involved in controlling the expression of genes.

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Using this 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 is 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 scientists said 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.

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The method not only allows onsite diagnosis before going to the screening clinic or being hospitalized 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 analyze the RNA without having to treat a patient’s sample,” said POSTECH Professor Jeong Wook Lee.

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