Researchers develop new COVID-19 diagnosis technology

2020 12 10 23 09 4097 Sars Co V 2 Envelope 400

South Korean researchers have developed a new technology for point-of-care diagnosis of COVID-19, according to a study published December 3 in Nature Biomedical Engineering.

The new nano polymerase chain reaction technology -- or what the researchers are calling "nanoPCR" -- can diagnose SARS-CoV-2 infection within 20 minutes with the accuracy of reverse transcription (RT)-PCR testing, according to a team led by Cheon Jinwoo, PhD, of the Center for Nanomedicine at the Institute for Basic Science in Seoul.

The technique improves on RT-PCR testing by using hybrid nanomaterials and a "miniaturized form factor," according to the group; it can detect even a small amount of genes (~3.2 copies/µl) accurately while "amplifying and detecting genetic material with high sensitivity and specificity."

Jinwoo's group tested nanoPCR with 150 patients with or without COVID-19; all were accurately diagnosed, for a sensitivity and specificity of 99%, equivalent to RT-PCR.

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