Researchers at University of Surrey warn that the world needs to be prepared for the next pandemic in the post COVID era and in this light they have developed a new molecular test for viruses and bacteria, including Sars-CoV-2 called ‘Electro-chemical LAMP’ (Elamp) that is rapid, sensitive, affordable and can be performed at home, in a GP surgery or in a hospital laboratory. This rapid electronic diagnostic test for infectious diseases has the sensitivity of lab-based polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests but when connected to a smartphone could be done at home.
Researchers tested human blood, saliva and nasal and throat swabs and found that their test had a 93.33% detection accuracy rate. The test also performs well at room temperature and gives the results within 45 minutes. This diagnostic tool seems to be effective, rapid and affordable which can be used at home to monitor and contain infectious diseases. The USP of this test is that it can detect lower amounts of the Sars-CoV-2 virus compared to other home-based tests.
This electrochemical test device is also compact and the team is further exploring its potential to be miniaturized into a simple memory stick-sized device that could be operated by anyone with an application. This would make the test to be performed at home where then the result would be instantly sent to health services to monitor the spread of infection along with giving timely advice to the patient.
A study on the test has been published in iScience. This study is very relevant today because undoubtedly it is time to keep working on better ways to test for the coronavirus and other new difficult viruses which are likely to emerge and cause imbalance in the health scenario around the globe.