Scientists from the University of California, Irvine (“UCI”) are soon coming up with a rapid COVID-19 test that could give you your results in hours. The technology which relies on lab-on-a-chip model will also be cost-effective for you. The antibody testing COVID-19 diagnostic test could be available for you by the end of the year.
How the test will work
A blood stain will be obtained through a prick on your finger. The test will probe hundreds of antibody responses to SARS-COV-2, including the other 14 respiratory viruses. Scientists from UCI have conducted more than 5000 tests using this test. The scientists say that identifying viral infections with the same symptoms of COVID-19 will help health institutions determine those patients with the ordinary flu.
Since this testing kit is easy to manufacture and its materials are also easy to obtain, the scientists are hoping that there will be enough supply for the whole world within a short period. Due to insufficient testing because of the expensive nature of existing testing kits, the infected persons with COVID-19 may be underestimated. An affordable testing mechanism will help manage COVID-19 in the coming months as it will give a clear picture of those infected by the virus.
Furthermore, mass testing would help develop methods that would minimize the risks of the second wave of infections. Implementing this extensive testing for antibodies against the virus will also help governments develop other effective containment measures. Besides, it will be a foundation for developing vaccines and therapeutics to fight the infection.
These testing procedures by UCI scientists are based on cheap, massive, 3D-portable, and printable imaging platform with a tiny array imager. The testing can immediately be deployed in remote areas, according to scientists, to give the results of coronavirus antigens microarrays (CoVAMs). CoVAMs contain a panel of antigens from respiratory infections, including COVID-19 and other MERS.
The CoVAM serology technology can measure antibody levels in the blood samples against 67 antigens from different strains to determine more than ten viruses that cause respiratory infections. These tests are more efficient as they can differentiate between different viruses. Today, most antibody tests can distinguish between one or two antigens, which is not reliable for COVID-19 testing.
The scientists from UCI have asserted that the rapid COVID-19 test has the same capability as the other expensive testing kits on the market. However, this quick testing kit is advantageous since it’s portable and can be used anywhere. Additionally, this device can also process the results from the standard nose swab tests for SARS-CoV-2 so that you can be tested for COVID-19 and its antibodies at the same time.
Industry watchers believe that the entire biomedical sector, including companies like LexaGene Holdings Inc. (TSX.V: LXG) (OTCQB: LXXGF) are hoping that the tests become available quickly so that the pandemic is brought under control based on information gathered from mass testing.
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