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Researchers Develop Rapid COVID-19 Diagnostic Test That Can Detect the Virus in Just 10 Minutes

Scientists at the University of Maryland School of Medicine have developed a new COVID-19 diagnostic test that only takes 10 minutes to complete. The test does not use advanced laboratory equipment commonly used to amplify genetic material for diagnostic testing.

The test begins by taking a nasal swab or saliva sample from a patient. Once the sample is obtained, RNA is extracted from the sample in a process that takes about 10 minutes. The test uses uses highly specific molecules attached to gold nanoparticles to scan the extracted RNA and detect genetic material that is unique to the coronavirus. When coronavirus RNA is present, the test's biosensor binds to the specific part of the coronavirus and the test turns from purple to blue.

"Based on our preliminary results, we believe this promising new test may detect RNA material from the virus as early as the first day of infection. Additional studies are needed, however, to confirm whether this is indeed the case," said study leader Dipanjan Pan, PhD, Professor of Diagnostic Radiology and Nuclear Medicine and Pediatrics at the UMSOM, in a press release.

The next step is to get approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for emergency use authorization (EUA). While more clinical studies are warranted to determine the efficacy of the test, researchers hope that the test will be a quicker and less expensive alternative to the standard COVID-19 lab test.

Read the press release.

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