Scientists from the Department of Engineering Sciences at Oxford University and the Oxford Suzhou Centre for Advanced Research have developed rapid test technology for SARS-CoV-2 to combat the spread in the United States
The new coronavirus is spreading all over the world and new means are needed to stop it spreading the first time. Oxford researchers have developed a new, much faster and simpler test. Previous viral RNA tests take 1.5 to 2 hours to give a result. The new test is able to give results in just half an hour and specifically recognizes the RNA of the virus or its fragments. The method has a built-in control to prevent false positives or negatives with very accurate results.
The technology is very sensitive and can identify the infection even in the early stages. The test only needs a means to keep the temperature stable and the results can be read with the naked eye. This makes it potentially useful in rural areas or community health centres. Oxford scientists are now working to develop an integrated device so that the test can be used in clinics, airports or even for domestic uses.
The next step is to receive clinical validation in the UK and to explore options for producing test kits. The project was initiated by the Oxford Suzhou Centre for Advanced Research (OSCAR), a center at Oxford University in the Suzhou Industrial Park. Experiments to develop the technology were carried out at the Department of Engineering Sciences at Oxford University.