Coronavirus Test Results in a Few Minutes!

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Image Source: University of Oxford ©

Who doesn’t want to protect himself during this COVID-19 pandemic?

In today’s era, when even a slight rise in body temperature raises concern, what can be better than advancement in Coronavirus testing?

Scientists at the University of Oxford heard everyone!

A project started by Oxford Suzhou Centre for Advanced Research (OSCAR), in Suzhou Industrial Park led to the development of the novel and rapid coronavirus testing technique. The astonishing feature of this new test is the rapidness of the results. Earlier methods of detecting the viral RNA were taking a minimum of 1.5 to 2 hours. On the contrary, this test is three times faster in giving results.

In only 30 minutes, the test results are ready!

With the alarming speed of corona spread,  promptness is not the only goal. Therefore, this new technology has been tailored to be much more sensitive, so it can detect the virus at a very early stage, preventing the spread.

Prof Wei Huang, one of the team leaders working on this technology, says: ‘The beauty of this new test lies in the design of the viral detection that can specifically recognise SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19) RNA and RNA fragments. The test has built-in checks to prevent false positives or negatives and the results have been highly accurate.’ 

If you are wondering that the setup and instruments required for this technology would be huge and quite complicated, then here is a twist!

This test demands a simple heat-block only!

The process of detecting the virus by RNA reverse transcription and DNA amplification requires a standard temperature. This is maintained by the heat-block. Moreover, no advanced instruments are needed for result interpretation.

The naked eye can read the results.

These characteristics make it portable, suitable even for the rural parts of the world.

Do the rapid detection test kits give accurate results?
Yes! The results of 16 clinical samples were validated and confirmed using the conventional RT-PCR methods. Shenzhen Luohu People’s Hospital cross-verified 8 negative and 8 positive samples. All results were correct and accurate.

 ‘I am proud of our team that has developed a useful technology and can make a contribution in combating CoV-19, and we are very grateful to the hospital’s medical team led by Dr Xizhou Sun, Dr Xiuming Zhang and Dr Dan Xiong for their part in testing this new technology,’ says the Director of OSCAR, Professor Zhanfeng Cui.

Since this technology is yet at an infant stage, many milestones are yet to be achieved. Steps are being taken to expedite the processes of availability and to step up the production of the rapid test kits. Scientists at the University of Oxford are now working on the flexibility of these test kits, so an integrated device can be developed for convenient use at homes, airports, and clinics. Fingers crossed!

REFERENCES:

Etherington, D. (2020, March 18). Oxford scientists develop new coronavirus test that provides results in just 30 minutes. Retrieved from Techcrunch: https://techcrunch.com/2020/03/18/oxford-scientists-develop-new-coronavirus-test-that-provides-results-in-just-30-minutes/

Oxford scientists develop rapid testing technology for COVID-19. (2020, March 18). Retrieved from University of Oxford: http://www.ox.ac.uk/news/2020-03-18-oxford-scientists-develop-rapid-testing-technology-covid-19

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Dr. Arsia Parekh
Dr. Arsia Hanif has been a meritorious Healthcare professional with a proven track record throughout her academic life securing first position in her MCAT examination and then, in 2017, she successfully completed her Bachelors of Medicine and Surgery from Dow University of Health Sciences. She has had the opportunity to apply her theoretical knowledge to the real-life scenarios, as a House Officer (HO) serving at Civil Hospital. Whilst working at the Civil Hospital, she discovered that nothing satisfies her more than helping other humans in need and since then has made a commitment to implement her expertise in the field of medicine to cure the sick and regain the state of health and well-being. Being a Doctor is exactly what you’d think it’s like. She is the colleague at work that everyone wants to know but nobody wants to be. If you want to get something done, you approach her – everyone knows that! She is currently studying with Medical Council of Canada and aspires to be a leading Neurologist someday. Alongside, she has taken up medical writing to exercise her skills of delivering comprehensible version of the otherwise difficult medical literature. Her breaks comprise either of swimming, volunteering services at a Medical Camp or spending time with family.

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