Breakthroughs in Decentralized Testing Could Contain Covid-19

Hospital facilities in Europe are being pushed to their limits as the Covid-19 pandemic continues into winter. Coronavirus testing that doesn’t require a central lab is now arriving on the scene, and it could be the solution to effectively monitor and contain the disease.

Despite the recent announcements of promising phase III data on Covid-19 vaccines, the virus causing the disease — SARS-CoV-2 — is likely to stay with us for months at the very least. Identifying infected individuals is the only way to provide proper healthcare and contain the spread. 

The gold standard for detecting the virus is a technique called polymerase chain reaction (PCR), which has extremely high sensitivity. However, efficient community testing is challenging, as samples need to be collected and sent to PCR labs. Infected patients are often notified a few days after their test.

A number of diagnostics companies across Europe aim to accelerate community diagnostics by developing tests that could give results in less than an hour. The approaches employed for developing each rapid Covid-19 test differ, ranging from antibody tests and viral RNA detection to identification of living viruses. Many of these tests are performed using handheld devices that resemble a pregnancy test and require minimal expertise from the person performing the test. 

One example is the Norwich-based Iceni Diagnostics,

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Published on Fri, 20 Nov 2020 15:05:13 +0000 and brought to you by salesforce international date