New test allows rapid COVID-19 diagnosis

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% accurate in diagnosing samples containing SARS-CoV-2 at high loads.

The test is highly accurate and easy to use,making it a prime candidate for use in settings with limited testing capabilities.Themethodinvolves usinga small portable machine,whichcan reliably detect SARS-CoV-2 from just onenasal swab.

In the race to control the COVID-19 pandemic,access to rapid,precision diagnostics is key. 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"

Tim Stinear, Laboratory Head and Professor, Doherty Institute, University of Melbourne

This newtestuses only one tube andinvolvesonlya single step, making itmoreefficient and lower cost thanmany of the current tests for SARS-CoV-2.

The N1-STOP-LAMP method was found to be 100% accurate and correctly identified 87%of testsas positive when used to assess 157 confirmed-positive samples.

The results were fast, with an average time-to-positive of 14 minutes for 93of thoseclinical samples.

"We see this kind of technology having benefit in settings liked aged care facilities, or overseas laboratories with limited resources and equipment,"Professor Stinearsaid.

"The test requires a small shoebox-sized machine, as well as reagents, but everything is portable."

"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's a robust diagnostic test for the specific and rapid detection of COVID-19."

"But it's important to note however, it trades some detection sensitivity for speed and ease-of-use".

Source:
Journal reference:

Lee, J. Y. H., Validation of a single-step, single-tube reverse transcription loop-mediated isothermal amplification assay for rapid detection of SARS-CoV-2 RNA. Journal of Medical Microbiology. doi.org/10.1099/jmm.0.001238.

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