A new test developed by MIT and colleagues promises to make a test so cheap that people could potentially test every day. The so called STOPCovid test brings back the results in 30 minutes to an hour with 93% accuracy.
Testing for COVID-19 is a crucial part of keeping people safe and stopping the spread of the virus. But doing so is often a complicated process. Therefore, Researchers at MIT and the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard, along with their collaborators at the University of Washington, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, and the Ragon Institute have devised a CRISPR-based diagnostic for COVID-19, called STOPCovid, that can achieve results in 30 minutes to an hour. Enabling testing at larg scale and within 30 minutes to an hour could potentially slow down outbreaks of the COVID-19 virus.
The researchers tested STOPCovid on 402 patient samples (202 positive and 200 negative) and found that the test detected 93% of the positive cases as determined by PCR tests for COVID-19. In addition, the test is made to be simple enough to carry out without the need for any specialized laboratory equipment. The team is now trialling STOPCovid with saliva samples to further simplify the process.
“The goal is to make this test easy to use and sensitive, so that we can tell whether or not someone is carrying the virus as early as possible,” Feng Zhang, a core member of the Broad Institute and senior author on the paper, concluded.