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Fields & Applications COVID-19, Mass Spectrometry

The Mass Spec COVID Check

Rising population density, global mobility, and insufficient health care in poor countries all contributed to the rapid spread of COVID-19. Testing is crucial to fight the SARS-CoV-2 virus, and now is the time to prepare for future outbreaks. It’s my view that MS could be employed to provide faster and cheaper diagnosis in the case of such events.

Diagnostic tests recognize unique molecular signatures from pathogens. These may take the form of small molecules or macromolecules (nucleic acid chains, proteins, carbohydrates, or lipids). DNA and RNA represent obvious targets because of our long-standing ability to amplify signals by PCR. Millions of PCR-based tests are performed each day. Although these are efficient, automatable, and acceptably cheap, the world cannot rely on one technology alone. Not only are reagents in short supply, but the test is also difficult to validate, and false results (positive and negative) may go undetected.

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About the Author

Maarten Dhaenens

Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences & ProGenTomics, Ghent University, Belgium

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