This Covid-19 test yields 100% accurate result in 20 minutes, claim scientists


Team Udayavani, Aug 14, 2020, 6:41 PM IST

New Delhi: Scientists have developed a new low-cost nasal swab test that can accurately diagnose the presence of SARS-CoV-2 virus, which causes Covid-19, in just 20 minutes.

The findings, published in the Journal of Medical Microbiology, show the test called N1-STOP-LAMP, is 100 percent accurate in diagnosing samples containing SARS-CoV-2 at high loads.

The rapid molecular test is highly accurate and easy to use, making it a prime candidate for use in settings with limited testing capabilities, according to the researchers.

The method involves using a small portable machine, which can reliably detect SARS-CoV-2 from just one nasal swab, they said.

“In the race to control the Covid-19 pandemic, access to rapid, precision diagnostics is key,” said Tim Stinear, a professor at the University of Melbourne in Australia.

“We have developed 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,” Stinear said.

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.

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.

“We see this kind of technology having a benefit in settings liked aged-care facilities, or overseas laboratories with limited resources and equipment,” Stinear said.

“The test requires a small shoebox-sized machine, as well as reagents, but everything is portable,” he said.

The researchers noted that STOP-LAMP is what is referred to as a ‘near care’ test, and is not intended to replace the current gold standard PCR testing.

It’s a robust diagnostic test for the specific and rapid detection of Covid-19, but it’s important to note that it trades some detection sensitivity for speed and ease-of-use, they said.

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