This low-cost covid-19 test can diagnose you in 20 minutes and is 100% accurate

This new swab test for covid-19 won’t burn a hole in your pocket.
covid-19 test
RT-PCR tests have been considered most reliable. Image courtesy: Shutterstock
Team Health Shots Published: 14 Aug 2020, 06:27 pm IST
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Everyday a new discovery is made in the field of science to beat the menace of covid-19. To detect infection, swab tests are being conducted across the world. Unfortunately, these tests happen to be expensive, because of which many people avoid taking the test. 

But the good news is that now these swab tests can be done at a very nominal price and it will hardly take 20 minutes to diagnose SARS-CoV-2. 

Scientists have developed a new low-cost nasal swab test which can accurately diagnose the presence of SARS-CoV-2 virus in just 20 minutes.

The findings, published in the Journal of Medical Microbiology, show the test called N1-STOP-LAMP, is 100% accurate in diagnosing samples containing SARS-CoV-2 at high loads.

N1-STOP-LAMP is accurate and quick
Because of the accuracy of the test, researchers are trying to make it a prime candidate for use in settings with limited testing capabilities.

covid-19 test
Do you know that a false covid-19 alert is possible! Image courtesy: Shutterstock

The method involves using a small portable machine, which can reliably detect SARS-CoV-2 from just one nasal swab, they said.

“In the race to control the covid-19 pandemic, access to rapid and precise diagnostics is key,” said Tim Stinear, a professor at the University of Melbourne in Australia.

“We have developed an alternative covid-19 molecular test that can be readily deployed in settings where access to standard laboratory testing is limited or where ultra-rapid result turnaround times are needed,” Stinear said.

It’s a single step test
The best part is that this new test is not cumbersome. It uses only one tube and involves only a single step, making it more efficient and lower cost than many of the current tests for SARS-CoV-2.

The N1-STOP-LAMP method was found to be 100% accurate and correctly identified 87% of tests as positive when used to assess 157 confirmed-positive samples. The results were fast, with an average time-to-positive of 14 minutes for 93 of those clinical samples.

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“We see this kind of technology having benefits in settings like aged care facilities, or overseas laboratories with limited resources and equipment,” Stinear said.

He said:

The test requires a small shoebox-sized machine, as well as reagents, but everything is portable.

The researchers noted that STOP-LAMP is what is referred to as a ‘near care’ test, and is not intended to replace the current gold standard PCR testing.

It’s a robust diagnostic test for the specific and rapid detection of covid-19, but it’s important to note that it trades some detection sensitivity for speed and ease-of-use, they said. 

(With inputs from PTI)

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