Researchers at the University of Maryland School of Medicine (UMSOM) have developed two rapid diagnostic methods for New Coronavirus (COVID-19), which are almost as accurate as the gold standard test methods currently used in laboratories. However, unlike the gold standard test of extracting RNA and amplifying viral DNA, these technologies can detect the presence of the virus in just five minutes.
One test is the covid-19 molecular diagnostic test. The researchers named it antisense, which uses electrochemical sensing to detect the presence of the virus. The other is to use simple gold nanoparticles to detect the color change when the virus appears. Both tests were developed by Dr. dipanjan pan, a professor at the University of Maryland, and his research team.
“These tests can detect the presence of the virus in 5 to 10 minutes and rely on a simple process that can be completed with little laboratory training,” Dr. Pan said. After all, they don’t need to extract virus RNA – it’s complex and time-consuming. ”
They are also more reliable than the rapid antigen detection currently on the market, which detects the virus only in people with significantly high virus levels“ These two newer detection methods are extremely sensitive and can detect the presence of the virus even in people with low virus content, “Dr. Pan said.
Last month, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) registered Dr. Pan’s laboratory as the antisense laboratory development base. This initiative paved the way for Dr. Pan’s laboratory to start testing.
In February this year, RNA disease diagnostics (rnadd) obtained the global exclusive license of UMB and UMBC to commercialize the test. Dr. pan served as a pro bono scientific consultant to the company.
The test uses an innovative technology called electrochemical sensing to detect viruses in swab samples. It adopts a unique bifurcated molecular detection method and integrates electrochemical sensing, which can quickly detect sars-cov-2 virus.
“The final model is like a blood glucose meter. Diabetics can use it to measure their blood sugar level at home, and people can easily do it themselves.”
Dr. pan and his colleagues, in collaboration with RNA disease diagnostics, are conducting a study on NBA basketball players in New York City to compare antisense with the rapid coronavirus detection used by the NBA to monitor player coronavirus infection.
“We want to see if our tests can produce more reliable results than existing platforms,” he said“ At present, novel coronavirus based on antigen detection rate is about 20%, and false positive results are also high. Our antisense seems to have 98% reliability, which is similar to PCR detection. ”
Similar to antisense, the second rapid detection does not require the use of any advanced laboratory technology, such as the technology commonly used to extract RNA. It uses a simple analytical method containing plasma gold nanoparticles to detect the color change when the virus appears. In April this year, Dr. pan and his colleagues published a step-by-step scheme in the journal Nature protocols, explaining the working principle and application method of nano amplification colorimetric test.
Once a nasal swab or saliva sample is obtained from the patient, the nucleic acid (genetic material) in the sample can be amplified through a simple process of about 10 minutes. The test uses a highly specific molecule attached to gold nanoparticles to detect a special protein. This protein is part of New Coronavirus’s unique genetic sequence. When the biosensor is combined with the gene sequence of the virus, the reaction of gold nanoparticles is to change the liquid reagent from purple to blue.
“Innovation is still very important in the covid-19 test. As we continue to monitor the infection of unvaccinated people and the potential transmission of new variants, there will be an urgent need for cheap and rapid testing to ensure that we continue to maintain a low infection rate.”