A low-cost spectroscopy-based diagnostic could make fast (and accurate) COVID-19 testing more accessible
Lauren Robertson | | Quick Read
Current methods for SARS-CoV-2 detection rely heavily on RT-PCR – an admittedly highly accurate but costly technique that requires trained personnel and significant lab space – and it cannot be described as rapid. Now, researchers at Penn Medicine have developed a new smartphone-based test for COVID-19 that delivers rapid results (within 4 minutes) with 90 percent accuracy.
Known as RAPID, which stands for real-time accurate portable impedimetric detection, the diagnostic test is built around electrochemical impedance spectroscopy (EIS), which transforms the binding event between viral spike protein and human ACE2 receptor into an electrical signal that can be read by a smartphone.
The test can be applied to both saliva and nasal samples, and is able to detect SARS-CoV-2 at low concentrations (1.16 PFU/ml). Perhaps just as importantly, it is also cheap and easy to produce; the electrodes can be mass-produced using screen-printers, meaning the entire test costs just $4.67. High-frequency testing, particularly in remote and disadvantaged areas, has never looked so likely.
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- Penn Medicine News (2021). Available at: https://bit.ly/35F7twx