Researchers from Simon Fraser University have approved a faster, cheaper COVID-19 test kit that could expand more widespread rapid testing
The microchip real-time PCR test can provide accurate results in 30 minutes and requires 10 times less reagents than the tube-based RT-PCR tests approved by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
“This research offers a cheaper, faster alternative to the most reliable and sensitive test currently used worldwide, without sacrificing sensitivity and reproducibility,” says molecular biology and biochemistry professor Peter Unrau, who led the team evaluating the COVID-19 test kit.
Unrau, along with PhD candidate Razvan Cojocaru and Master’s student Iqra Yaseen, first evaluated test sensitivity in the lab, then sent the test kit to a clinical team at St. Paul’s Hospital in Vancouver to determine its ability to detect COVID-19 in patient samples. The results aligned with hospital testing results.
The kit comes preloaded with COVID-19 primers and probes making it easy to use and is low powered (100 watt), compact, lightweight and available internationally. Researchers suggest the test could be deployed in remote locations, clinics and airports due to its ease of use and portability.
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