A team of Canadian researchers has developed a new faster, cheaper Covid-19 test that could be deployed in remote locations, clinics and airports due to its ease of use and portability.
Developed by the researchers at the Simon Fraser University in Canada, the microchip real-time PCR test can provide accurate results in 30 minutes and requires 10 times less reagents than the tube-based RT-PCR tests approved by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Supply chain shortages of reagents and test kits during the pandemic has slowed the rapid expansion of clinical testing. This new Covid-19 test kit is another tool in the toolbox that uses less of the supply constrained reagents to achieve fast and accurate results.
“This research offers a cheaper, faster alternative to the most reliable and sensitive test currently used worldwide, without sacrificing sensitivity and reproducibility,” said molecular biology and biochemistry professor Peter Unrau, from the varsity.
The results are published in The Journal of Molecular Diagnostics.
After evaluating the test’s sensitivity in the lab, it was sent to a clinical team at St Paul’s Hospital in Vancouver, British Columbia, to determine its ability to detect Covid-19 in patient samples.
The microchip PCR Covid-19 test kit results aligned with hospital testing results — demonstrating its effectiveness.
The kit comes preloaded with Covid-19 primers and probes making it easy to use, reducing the potential for user error and improving the reliability of test results.
The Covid-19 detection kits developed by Lumex Instruments Canada and validated by Unrau’s team are low power (100 watt), compact, lightweight and available internationally.