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US scientists: We’ve developed test kit that can detect COVID-19 quickly

US scientists: We’ve developed test kit that can detect COVID-19 quickly
April 16
14:05 2020

The American Chemical Society (ACS) says it has developed a “fast and more accurate” test procedure for detecting SARS-CoV-2 RNA or coronavirus which causes COVID-19.

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Many have been tested for the novel coronavirus with a kit that relies on a method that amplifies SARS-CoV-2 RNA from patient swabs so that tiny amounts of the virus can be detected.

Testing in many countries has lagged behind because of limited supplies of some reagents and a backlog of samples awaiting available PCR machines and laboratory personnel.

The US scientists said they decided to develop a new test that can detect the novel coronavirus more accurately and quickly, and relieve the pressure on polymerase chain reaction (PCR) based tests currently used in the fight against COVID-19 pandemic.

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Health experts agree that expanded testing is crucial for controlling the spread of COVID-19.

In a paper it published on Wednesday, the society said another technique called “localized surface plasmon resonance”. had been developed

“[This] can detect interactions between molecules on the surface of a constructed metallic nanostructure as a local change in refractive index,” the society said.

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“The team made DNA probes that recognized specific SARS-CoV-2 RNA sequences and attached them to gold nanoparticles. When they added pieces of the virus’s genome, the RNA attached to the complementary probes like a zipper being closed.

“The team used a laser to heat up the nanoparticles, making it more difficult for imperfectly matched sequences to remain attached, reducing false-positives.

“For example, a nucleic acid ‘zipper’ missing a couple of teeth—indicating a partial mismatch—would unzip under these conditions. In this way, the researchers could discriminate between SARS-CoV-2 and its close relative, SARS-CoV-1. The assay detected amounts of viral RNA below those present in respiratory swabs in a matter of minutes.”

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