Scientists at the University of Birmingham have developed a test for Covid-19 that can give results in less than five minutes.
This new test simplifies the screening method to reduce it to a single step and uses an alternative amplification method called EXPAR (reaction by exponential amplification), specifies the University.
It can be performed using standard laboratory equipment, whereas PCR (polymerase chain reaction) tests require higher temperatures to separate the DNA strands as part of the amplification process, depending on the same source.
“We have designed a new test method that combines the ease of use and speed of rapid diagnostic tests with the inherent sensitivity of an RNA test. It contains reagents that can be used in existing tests and addresses the need for testing in high throughput environments, close to the patient, where people can queue for their results, ”explained Professor Tim Dafforn of the“ School of Biosciences’, under the University of Birmingham.
This test uses a different technique from PCR, which is considered more reliable but takes more than an hour per sample, and is done in two steps. The first, takes 30 minutes and uses a reverse transcriptase enzyme to convert RNA into DNA. The second uses a DNA polymerase enzyme to copy DNA and amplify it to detectable levels, but requires longer warming and cooling cycles.
The announcement of this test comes as England has entered its third lockdown since the start of the pandemic, due to the expansion of the new variant of Covid-19.
Considered the most bereaved country in Europe by the pandemic, the United Kingdom deplores more than 76,000 deaths from the virus, while the total of contaminations is approaching 3 million.