Thursday, 1 October 2020

Fast, portable COVID-19 test could bypass lab

Photo courtesy of Bill King

As COVID-19 continues to spread, bottlenecks in supplies and laboratory personnel have led to long waiting times for results in some areas. In a new study, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign researchers have demonstrated a prototype of a rapid COVID-19 molecular test and a simple-to-use, portable instrument for reading the results with a smartphone in 30 minutes, which could enable point-of-care diagnosis without needing to send samples to a lab.

“If such a device and test were available, we could test for COVID-19 at public events, auditoriums, large gatherings, and potentially even at home for self-testing. The results could be sent back to the appropriate public health system for coordination,” said Rashid Bashir, a professor of bioengineering and the dean of the Grainger College of Engineering at Illinois. Bashir co-led the study with electrical and computer engineering professor Brian Cunningham and mechanical science and engineering professor Bill King.

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