Two New Rapid COVID-19 Diagnostic Tests By University of Minnesota Medical School

Two new rapid COVID-19 diagnostic tests by the University of Minnesota Medical School

The two new rapid diagnostic tests – one to detect COVID-19 variants and another one to help distinguish with other diseases that have COVID-19-like signs have been developed by researchers from the University of Minnesota Medical School. The outcomes of the research were published in the journal Bioengineering.

Even though many people are hopeful about COVID-19 vaccines, prevalent vaccine distribution is not expected to be available until months. Till that happens, the capacity to detect COVID-19 rapidly and precisely is essential to decrease the death and spread of the infection.

The technology for both tests makes use of the sophisticated CRISPR/Cas9 technology. Employing commercial reagents, they define a Cas-9-based methodology for nucleic acid detection utilizing fluorescence signal generation and lateral flow assays.

The initial test is a rapid diagnostic examination that can distinguish SARS-CoV-2 variants. This test can be carried out without customized competence or tools. It utilizes technology comparable to at-home maternity tests and provides results within one hour.

The second test is a much more sensitive test that enables scientists to evaluate the same sample concurrently, by gauging fluorescence, for COVID-19 (SARS-CoV-2), respiratory syncytial virus, and Influenza A and B. These viruses display comparable symptoms, so being able to detect and differentiate them adds a new diagnostic device to decrease the COVID-19 spread. Similarly, this test also takes about one hour and could be conveniently measured so many more tests can be executed. The required equipment is available in many diagnostics and research labs.

Asst Prof Mark J. Osborn, Ph.D., Dept of Pediatrics, the University of Minnesota Medical School and first author of the study, stated that the approval of the COVID-19 vaccine is very potential; however, the period between initial doses and population immunity might be months. This screening platform can aid bridge the gap between immunity and immunization.

In partnership with the U of M’s Institute of Engineering in Medicine and Jakub Tolar, MD, Ph.D., dean of the U of M Medical School, Osborn and his co-worker are currently looking to boost sensitivity and real-world use of this test in aid of rapidly detecting and determining variants of SARS-CoV-2. For providing access to their novel testing technology for healthcare professionals and the general populace, the scientists are presently examining ways to scale up and authorize their novel diagnostics.

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Two new rapid COVID-19 diagnostic tests by the University of Minnesota Medical School


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