Smartphone-based device could detect SARS-CoV-2


ISLAMABAD, December 10 (online): Researchers are developing a portable device that gives rapid, accurate test results with the help of a regular smartphone camera. By estimating the number of virus particles in samples, the device could also determine an infection’s progress.
A recent survey in the United States revealed that it takes an average of 4 days to receive a definitive SARS-CoV-2 lab test result after a nasal swab.
Lab-based tests are much more reliable than rapid, on-the-spot tests for SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. They use a technique calledpolymerase chain reaction (PCR) to “amplify” the minuscule amounts of viral genetic material in a sample.
But the tests are time-consuming, increasing the risk of viral transmission while people wait for their results to come back from the lab.
CRISPR, which scientists principally use to edit genes, won the 2020 Nobel Prize in Chemistry for its creators, Emanuelle Charpentier and Jennifer A. Doudna.
About 2 years ago, Doudna, in collaboration with her colleagues at the J. David Gladstone Institutes in San Francisco, CA, began working on a new application for CRISPR to test for HIV.
In January 2020, as the global threat from the COVID-19 outbreak became apparent, they switched their focus to developing a test for SARS-CoV-2 using the same technology.