South Korean scientists develop quick diagnostic COVID test tool



Scientists have developed a new method that allows anyone to easily and quickly detect COVID-19 in just 30 minutes and is as accurate as of the current PCR diagnostic test.

The SENSR technology developed by researchers at Pohang University of Science & Technology (POSTECH) in South Korea diagnosis COVID-19 based on the RNA sequence of the virus, reducing the stress on one single testing location and avoiding contact with infected patients as much as possible.

RNA is a nucleic acid that mediates genetic information or is involved in controlling the expression of genes.

The benefit is that a diagnostic kit can be developed within a week even if a new infectious disease appears other than COVID-19, according to the research published in the journal Nature Biomedical Engineering.

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The test is not suitable for use in small farming or fishing villages, or airport or drive-thru screening clinics as it requires expensive equipment as well as skilled experts, they said.

The virus can be detected immediately without any preparation process with high sensitivity in a short time. It is as accurate as of the current PCR diagnostic method.

Using the new technology, they found the SARS-CoV-2 virus RNA, the cause of COVID-19, from an actual patient sample in about 30 minutes.

Besides, five pathogenic viruses and bacterial RNAs were detected proving the kit's usability in detecting pathogens other than COVID-19, according to the researchers.

Another great advantage of the SENSR technology is the ease of creating the diagnostic device that can be developed into a simple portable and easy-to-use form, the researchers said.

The method not only allows onsite diagnosis before going to the screening clinic or being hospitalised but also allows for a more proactive response to COVID-19 by supplementing the current centralized diagnostic system.