University of Minnesota Medical School researchers have developed two new rapid diagnostic tests for COVID-19 – one to detect COVID-19 variants and one to help differentiate with other illnesses that have COVID-19-like symptoms. The findings were recently published in the journal Bioengineering.
Although many people are hopeful about COVID-19 vaccines, widespread vaccine distribution isn’t predicted to be available until several months from now. Until that happens, the ability to diagnose COVID-19 quickly and accurately is crucial to help minimize loss of life and continued spread of the virus.
The technology for both tests uses the cutting-edge CRISPR/Cas9 system. Using commercial reagents, they describe a Cas-9-based methodology for nucleic acid detection using lateral flow assays and fluorescence signal generation.
The first test is a rapid diagnostic test that can differentiate between COVID-19 variants. This test can be performed without specialized expertise or equipment. It uses technology similar to at-home pregnancy testing and produces results in about an hour.
The second, more sensitive test allows researchers to analyze the same sample simultaneously for COVID-19 (SARS-CoV-2), Influenza A and B and respiratory syncytial virus by measuring fluorescence…