Researchers from the University of Calgary’s Cumming School of Medicine have developed a simple yet rapid method to test for COVID-19.
The test can have results within 30 minutes without the need for high-tech equipment or rare reagents.
The test looks for SARS-CoV-2 (the virus that causes COVID-19) by using a unique technique called LAMP – loop mediated amplification. The test detects the viral genetic material from a nose or throat swab or saliva and does not require expensive equipment and the result can be seen with the naked eye.
The chemicals required are also easier to access and do not require refrigeration.
Although no major high-tech is needed for the test, it still requires small laboratory items.
The team is working to develop a hand-held cartridge test which would not require any additional lab items.
Study lead, clinical-researcher and member of the Snyder Institute for Chronic Diseases and the Alberta Children’s Hospital Research Institute at the CSM Dr. Dylan Pillai said, “ “Results from this method can be seen with the naked eye, the chemicals required are easier to access, and do not require refrigeration. The process can be made portable, which opens up testing in resource-limited settings.”
The researchers hope to have a working model before the end of the year.