Rutgers researchers developed a new coronavirus disease (COVID-19) rapid test that can detect all three of the new variants in approximately an hour. The previous tests, which are more difficult and expensive to perform, take three to five days, according to an article from Rutgers Today.
The test is the first to use highly sensitive, specific DNA sequences called “sloppy molecular beacon probes,” which detect frequent mutations in organisms.
David Alland, director of the Rutgers New Jersey Medical School (NJMS) Public Health Research Institute and professor and chief of infectious disease at NJMS, said the test was developed in a few weeks to address the current public health need.
“Despite our hurry to get the test completed, it performed extremely well with clinical samples in our initial studies,” he said, according to the article. “We are very pleased with these results and we hope that this test will help in the control of the rapidly evolving COVID-19 pandemic.”
The Daily Targum previously reported all three variants, which may be more contagious and cause more severe symptoms, have been found in New Jersey.
The test will not be patented by Rutgers because researchers want to make it widely available to the public. Details on how to create and run the test are available online for free.
The test can be adapted for different labs using different equipment or methods, but researchers recommend additional validation be conducted for modified tests, according to Rutgers Today.