A new rapid and affordable COVID-19 test has been developed
The high transmission rate of COVID-19 and large amount of asymptomatic infections has led to a global need for fast, efficient and accessible diagnostic testing. Standard COVID-19 testing methods use reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) to detect viral RNA in patient swab samples. The RNA extraction step in the current testing methods is causing a major bottleneck in the testing process due to the logistics, equipment and expensive chemicals required.
Researchers at Karolinska Institute have developed a fast and cost-effective yet accurate COVID-19 testing method to overcome the current bottleneck in the testing process. This method bypasses the expensive and time-consuming RNA extraction step and instead uses RT-PCR directly on heat-inactivated or chemically lysed samples.
As the second wave of COVID-19 approaches, implementing a faster and cheaper testing method would allow for more rapid and scalable testing and could help improve infection control significantly. This method could be particularly useful in areas where COVID-19 infection cases are high and resources are limited.