Thursday, February 2

COVID-19: they develop a rapid and cheap test without PCR | Digital Trends Spanish

A team of researchers from the University of Washington has developed a new test capable of detecting COVID-19.

It is a test that combines the speed of over-the-counter antigen tests with the precision of PCR tests used in medical laboratories and hospitals.

University of Washington

How does it work?

According to scientists, the Harmony COVID-19 test detects the genetic material of the SARS-CoV-2 virus just like PCR tests.

However, unlike tests that can take several hours, the Harmony kit delivers results in less than 20 minutes and with similar accuracy to traditional tests.

“We have designed the test to be low cost and simple enough that it can be used anywhere,” explains Barry Lutz, a professor of bioengineering at the University of Washington.

“We hope that the low cost will make high-throughput testing more accessible locally and around the world.”

The authors’ idea was to develop a test that was easy to use. Harmony uses a method similar to PCR, to detect the presence of the virus’s RNA genome in a nasal swab sample.

Harmony also requires the use of a smartphone to operate the detector and read the results. This device can manage up to four samples at the same time and fits in the glove box of a standard vehicle.

Preliminary results show that the Harmony kit is 97 percent accurate on nasal swabs and detects three different regions of the virus genome.

“We plan to make our test accessible and affordable around the world,” adds Lutz.

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