Researchers develop a new smartphone-based COVID-19 testing kit that is said to match PCR test accuracy
- A new COVID-19 testing is being developed to help people easily get results and without spending too much.
- The smaRT-LAMP testing system uses basic lab equipment and a smartphone app.
- It’s said to produce accurate results and even detect new COVID variants.
AdvertisementResearchers at the University of California, Santa Barbara have developed a new COVID-19 testing system that uses basic lab equipment and a smartphone app, and it is claimed to give results as accurate as of the standard PCR test. This COVID testing system is called “smaRT-LAMP” and it could be as cheap as $7.
The COVID testing requires a smartphone, an app called “Bacticount” and a test kit, according to a report by Gizmodo. It requires a person’s saliva that is placed on the test kit and a reactive solution is added to it so that it can detect any viral RNA that could be present in the saliva sample. The sample is then covered with a cardboard box that has an LED light on top.
The smartphone’s camera is then pointed at the LED lights and according to the colour reactions, it will be revealed if the sample being tested is COVID-19 positive or not. If it’s a bright red light then the result is positive.
One drawback of this COVID-19 test is that the Baticount app is currently compatible only with the Samsung Galaxy S9 series which is already four years old. Further development could add support for more smartphones otherwise the testing method won’t be convenient at all.
The research is still very early though and it was conducted with samples of 50 people. The team is however confident that the results are promising, and smaRT-LAMP could help identify new COVID variants or even the flu.
The COVID-19 testing kit is aimed at helping rural hospitals or places where there isn’t a proper testing system. It is also expected to be available as home testing kits.
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