Lab-on-a-chip test to detect pathogens
March 20, 2020 - A rapid, low-cost, chip-based testing kit to detect coronavirus uses polymerase chain reaction (PCR) -- a method of amplifying small amounts of genetic material -- and a fluorescent marker to identify the virus.
Researchers are working to find ways of detecting the virus as fast as possible to enable the quarantine of confirmed cases to prevent any further spread of the virus.
South Korea moved quickly, with some 20 pharmaceutical companies coordinating the production of diagnostic tests from January 27, when the nation had just four known cases of the Covid illness.
South Korea has now tested more than 250,000 citizens, from a population of 51.5 million, and Italy has tested almost 150,000 of its 60.5 million people.
Britain has screened about 50,000 out of its 66.4 million population, and the U.S. has run some 32,000 tests -- just 0.01 per cent of its 327.2 million people. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention rolled out its first tests to all 50 states on February 4. But state testing labs uncovered a quality issue with the three-part test.
Italian hospitals are turning diagnostic tests around in four to six hours. In Britain, it takes at least a day, and in the U.S. the wait is longer. In China, supply has soared to around 1.6 million kits a day according to the World Health Organisation, and the nation is now exporting 15-minute diagnosis kits.
Most of the diagnostic tests for SARS-CoV-2 use real-time PCR, and high-performance automatic machines developed by companies such as Roche can analyse around 1,000 swab samples in 24 hours.
- A rapid, low-cost, and microfluidic chip-based system (Nature)
- Recent advances and perspectives of nucleic acid detection for coronavirus (Journal of Pharmaceutical Analysis)
- French group BioMérieux has announced the launch of three different tests in response to the Covid-19 pandemic. (Verdict Medical Devices)
- How Korea trounced U.S. in race to test people for coronavirus (Reuters)
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