UAE develops phone-size PCR test with results in 45 minutes

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A team of researchers from Khalifa University has developed a portable COVID-19 testing kit, no larger than your average smartphone. The new kit is both portable and can deliver the results in 45 minutes only.

While PCR testing is always highly accurate, and the gold standard for detecting viruses, it can be complex to use.

The KU testing kit needs minimal knowledge to operate and there is no need for any sophisticated equipment as the kit performs COVID-19 detection directly from a patient’s swab. A simple color change shows the result: pink for negative, yellow for positive.

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Currently in the clinical validation stage, this testing kit can detect active infections in 45 minutes, meaning it can be used in rapid testing while being cost-effective at the same time.

When the coronavirus pandemic is over, the kits remain useful, as they can be used with any virus detecting primer. The LAMP method will still replicate the RNA to make it testable and then the sample can be tested with a reagent looking for the influenza virus, for example.

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Primers to detect an infectious agent can be produced quickly once the viral sequence is known, so if a new virus were to emerge, this PCR test from the team at Khalifa University would be able to detect it.

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