Currently, there is a global need for point of care diagnostic test to identify people who are infected with the SARS-CoV-2 virus (COVID-19). The currently used PCR-based testing requires samples to be shipped to a centralised testing laboratory. This results most often typically take 24 hours or more. As the world moves beyond the first pandemic spike, there will be an increased need for rapid testing options which can underpin test-trace-isolate strategies.
The Warwick team have demonstrated that the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein binds to certain glycan (sugar) molecules, that glycan-functionalised nanoparticles can be used to detect the spike protein and that these nanoparticles can be incorporated into a pregnancy test-style lateral flow device diagnostic. This delivers a rapid, point of care results in ~30 minutes.