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New Dipstick Technology Could Offer Faster, Cheaper and Mobile COVID-19 Diagnosis

By LabMedica International staff writers
Posted on 07 Oct 2020
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Image: A simple dipstick allows genetic material to be extracted in as little as 30 seconds (Photo courtesy of University of Queensland)
Image: A simple dipstick allows genetic material to be extracted in as little as 30 seconds (Photo courtesy of University of Queensland)
A new technology that helps to quickly extract and analyze genetic material could be used for cheap, accurate and mobile COVID-19 testing, including at airports and remote testing centers.

‘Dipstick’ technology, developed by the University of Queensland (Queensland, Australia) allows genetic material to be extracted in as little as 30 seconds, with a full molecular diagnosis in 40 minutes. The process can be used to extract genetic material from most living organisms, including people, livestock, bacteria and viruses. The researchers have already applied the technology in other areas, primarily to fight plant pathogens. According to the team, their dipsticks can be produced quickly, cheaply and in bulk using a household pasta maker.

“Our dipstick tech is incredibly cheap and can be used virtually anywhere, without the need for specialized equipment or a laboratory,” said Professor Jimmy Botella of the University of Queensland. “Our tech enables the purification of DNA and RNA nucleic acids from patient samples - a critical step in COVID-19 diagnosis.”

“Combined with a portable diagnostic machine we’ve developed - which fits in your hand and can be powered by a car’s cigarette lighter connection - we could enable faster identification and isolation of positive patients, helping to reduce the spread of the disease,” added Botella. “We’re hoping it will be used to expand COVID-19 diagnostic testing to non-laboratory environments such as airports, remote testing centers and GP clinics.”

Related Links:
University of Queensland


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