Running a usual COVID-19 test usually takes several hours. In a world where time is, in most situations, a luxury we can’t afford, faster solutions are always welcomed. Officials from many countries believe that rapid COVID-19 testing is practically mandatory for slowing down the spread of the virus that’s causing the disease.
Thanks to a research team led by scientists from the labs of Jennifer Doudna, David Savage, as well as Patrick Hsu at the University of California, Berkeley, the world may soon benefit from a rapid COVID-19 test. The new tool combines two different types of CRISPR enzymes for creating an assay able to detect amounts of viral RNA within an hour.
Will everyday testing become possible?
David Savage, co-author of the new study and a professor of molecular and cell biology, declared as quoted by SciTechDaily:
You don’t need the sensitivity of PCR to basically catch and diagnose COVID-19 in the community, if the test’s convenient enough and fast enough,
Our hope was to drive the biochemistry as far as possible to the point where you could imagine a very convenient format in a setting where you can get tested every day, say, at the entrance to work.
However, the new idea could be used over other diseases as well, including COVID. Tina Liu, team leader and a research scientist in Doudna’s lab at the Innovative Genomics Institute (IGI), declared as also cited by SciTechDaily:
While we did start this project for the express purpose of impacting COVID-19, I think this particular technique could be applicable to more than just this pandemic because, ultimately, CRISPR is programable.
The researchers reported their new findings in the journal Nature Chemical Biology.