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Isothermal Amplification Based COVID-19 Test System Could Detect Any Coronavirus Variant

By LabMedica International staff writers
Posted on 29 Dec 2021
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Researchers have developed a strategy to create a cheap and rapid COVID-19 test based on isothermal amplification that will make it possible to create universal test systems for any of the COVID-19 variants.

The strategy developed by researchers at the HSE University (Moscow, Russia) will decrease the cost of COVID-19 tests considerably and speed up the process, since no specially trained professionals or expensive equipment will be needed. There are several options for systems that detect traces of SARS-CoV-2 in human blood or secretion samples. They usually detect either scraps of COVID-19’s pathogen RNA using polymerase chain reaction (PCR) and its analogues, or antibodies to COVID-19. Usually, quite a lot of time is required for such a test, from 30 minutes to several hours, which is why researchers are looking for new, faster methods to detect antibodies or COVID infection.

The Russian researchers have been working on another alternative to PCR tests that is based on so-called loop-mediated isothermal amplification (LAMP). This testing approach allows for multiplication of certain DNA or RNA fragments from bio samples with the use of special markers and ferments of extremophilic bacteria that reside in hot springs. The key advantage of LAMP over PCR is that all reactions can be made at the same temperature. This simplifies and speeds up the process. But these systems are much more complicated to develop and have a few drawbacks, which has previously limited their use in COVID-19 test systems. The new strategy developed by the researchers will help overcome these drawbacks and give healthcare professionals an opportunity to use LAMP testing to detect traces of any COVID variants in samples of mucus and blood without preliminary processing in a laboratory.

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