This new test can diagnose COVID-19 in just 20 minutes

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COVID-19 cases are increasing day by day. In India, the number of confirmed cases are inching closer to the 25 lakh mark and more than 48,000 people have already lost their lives to the disease. The pandemic is raging on unabated across the world and, in the absence of a definite cure or vaccine, precautions and containment measures need to be done on a war footing. Rapid and accurate testing will go a long way in helping stop the transmission of this disease viral. Today, we have many tests for COVID-19. But most of these are time-consuming and require an elaborate process and bulky equipment. To work around this problem, researchers have developed a portable test that is not only fast and easy to use but also provides accurate results. Also Read – Back to school: How to help kids get used to wearing masks

The STOP-LAMP test

A new study at the University of Melbourne in Australia has led to the development of a new and more accurate test for the COVID-19 infection. In an ongoing fight against the novel coronavirus, the researchers have developed a new test that can diagnose Covid-19 in just 20 minutes. The findings, published in the Journal of Medical Microbiology, show the rapid molecular test called N1-STOP-LAMP, is 100 per cent accurate in diagnosing samples containing SARS-CoV-2 at high loads. According to researchers, this new test, the STOP-LAMP is what’s referred to as a ‘near care’ test. It is not intended to replace the current gold standard PCR testing. It is a robust diagnostic test for the specific and rapid detection of COVID-19. But researchers say that it is important to note that it trades some detection sensitivity for speed and ease-of-use. Also Read – COVID-19: Know how to check if you have the right face mask

Easy to use and cost effective

According to the researchers, the test is highly accurate and easy to use, making it a prime candidate for use in settings with limited testing capabilities. The method involves using a small portable machine, which can reliably detect SARS-CoV-2 from just one nasal swab. In the race to control the COVID-19 pandemic, access to rapid, precision diagnostics is key, the research team said. Also Read – COVID-19 mental health fallout: Women more stressed than men during the lockdown

This is an alternative COVID-19 molecular test that can be readily deployed in settings where access to standard laboratory testing is limited or where ultra-rapid result turnaround times are needed. The study revealed that this new test uses only one tube and involves only a single step, making it more efficient and lower cost than many of the current tests for SARS-CoV-2.

Portable test that gives fast results

The N1-STOP-LAMP method was found to be 100 per cent accurate and correctly identified 87 per cent of tests as positive when used to assess 157 confirmed-positive samples. The results were fast, with an average time-to-positive of 14 minutes for 93 of those clinical samples. This kind of technology is good in settings liked aged care facilities or overseas laboratories with limited resources and equipment. The test requires a small shoebox-sized machine, as well as reagents, but everything is portable.

(With inputs from IANS)

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