A new method has been developed by scientists that allows everyone to diagnose Covid-19 easily and rapidly in just 30 minutes and is as reliable as the existing diagnostic test for PCR. Researchers at Pohang University of Science & Technology (POSTECH) in South Korea have developed SENSR technology to diagnose Covid-19 on the basis of an RNA virus sequence, to minimize stress at a single test site, and to prevent as much interaction as necessary with infected patients.
RNA is a nucleic acid that mediates genetic data or is involved in gene expression regulation.
The greatest advantage is that, according to studies reported in the journal Nature Biomedical Engineering, a diagnostic kit can be produced within a week even if a new infectious disease other than Covid-19 occurs.
The researchers noted that the PCR molecular test currently used for the diagnosis of Covid-19 has very high precision, but requires a complex method of preparation to isolate or refine the virus.
The test is not suitable for use in small farming or fishing villages, airports, or drive-thru screening clinics, as both costly equipment and trained experts are needed. In order to display fluorescence only when Covid-19 RNA is present, the researchers developed the test kit to generate a nucleic acid binding reaction.
The virus can be immediately identified with high sensitivity in a short time without any preparation process. And it is as accurate as of the diagnostic method of the current PCR.
Using the latest technology, in about 30 minutes, the SARS-CoV-2 virus RNA, the source of Covid-19, was detected from an actual patient sample.
In addition, according to the researchers, five pathogenic viruses and bacterial RNAs were found, which demonstrated the usefulness of the kit to detect pathogens other than Covid-19.
The simplicity of designing the diagnostic system which can be built into a simple, compact, and easy-to-use form is another great advantage of the SENSR technology, the researchers said.
Before going to the screening center or being hospitalized, the procedure not only facilitates on-site evaluation but also allows for a more proactive approach to Covid-19 by supplementing the existing centralized diagnostic system.
This approach is a quick and easy diagnostic technology that can test the RNA accurately without having to treat the sample of a patient. We can better prepare for potential epidemics as we can design and manufacture within a week a diagnostic kit for emerging infectious diseases.