New COVID-19 test delivers accurate results in just 4 minutes

February 9, 2022
New COVID-19 test delivers accurate results in just 4 minutes

Polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests are considered the gold standard for accurate COVID-19 diagnosis but takes time and trained laboratory personnel to process. Chinese scientists at Fudan University have developed an equally accurate testing device for COVID-19, one that uses microelectronics for an analysis, instead of the PCR test method.

What’s more, the new test can return results through a smartphone in just four minutes.

Fudan University researchers said the new test detects genetic material in a swab sample simply by using tiny mechanical components made of DNA which is later converted to an electrical signal. The results can be quickly accessed using a computer or smartphone.

In experiments, the test was able to successfully detect the SARS-CoV-2 virus in under four minutes – with an average time of one minute – in all swab samples from 33 people who had been confirmed to have COVID-19. It also did not return false positives from the 54 samples from people who did not have the disease.

“(The test) may be advantageous in that it offers rapid detection of SARS-CoV-2 nucleic acids, easy operation, high sensitivity and specificity, and portability,” the scientists said, and hinted at quicker disease detection in the future.

“Besides COVID-19, the development of the molecular electromechanical system could allow for the ultraprecise diagnosis of other diseases in a few minutes, without the need for target purification, amplification, or culture, which normally requires hours or days.”

Demand for coronavirus test kits has intensified as the world grapples with a spike in cases caused by the highly infectious Omicron and Delta variants. Chinese manufacturers of test kits have been racing to keep up with surging demand, both domestically and abroad.

Read: SCG/Formycon collaborate on COVID-19 drug FYB207 for Asia-Pacific

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