A new kind of test has been developed by researchers at Caltech to detect COVID-19 infection in just 10 minutes. This test will make the at-home diagnosis of the coronavirus infection a reality. This multiplexed test will access small volumes of blood or saliva with the help of a low-cost sensor.
Previously, the Caltech researchers developed wireless sensors which were made of graphene – which could detect conditions such as gout by accessing low levels of particular compounds in saliva, blood, or sweat. As per the study, the graphene structures are combined with antibodies – immune system molecules which are sensitive to particular proteins like those which are found on the surface of the novel coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2).
The revised version of the sensor has been named as SARS-CoV-2 RapidPlex. This sensor comprises proteins and antibodies, which allows it to check if the novel coronavirus is present. The current testing technologies for COVID-19 take hours or sometimes even days to give the test results; also needs complicated and expensive equipment. On the contrary, researchers believe that the new system is not only simple, but it is compact also.
So far, scientists have tested the device only in the laboratory with a small number of saliva and blood samples which are obtained for medical research-related reasons from people who have tested either positive or negative for coronavirus.
The preliminary observations have shown that the new sensor is accurate in producing the results. However, conducting tests on a larger scale with more number of real-time patients has to be performed to confirm its accuracy definitively.
Researchers now intend to test and see how long a sensor would last after regular usage. Also, researchers plan to test the sensors with hospitalised COVID-19 patients and assess its suitability for in-home use.
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