An article published in Experimental Biology and Medicine describes a technique for “Direct On-the-Spot Detection of SARS-CoV-2 in Patients”. The study, led by Dr. Naama Geva-Zatorsky and colleagues from the Technion–Institute of Technology in Haifa, and the Rambam Hospital, Meir Medical Center and Tel-Aviv University, as well as researchers from Boston, reports a rapid, simple and cost-effective colorimetric method based on Reverse Transcribed Loop-Mediated Isothermal Amplification (RT-LAMP) for detection of SARS-CoV-2. The RT-LAMP method can be used on nasal swabs or saliva, provides a similar answer to the more labor-intensive quantitative reverse-transcription PCR (RT-qPCR) test, and provides an answer in 1 hour.
We are in the midst of the COVID-19 Pandemic with over 11 million known cases Worldwide leading to over 500,000 deaths. The best approach for slowing the spread of the virus is social distancing, the wearing of masks, frequent hand washing and being able to widely and frequently test people for the presence of SARS-CoV-2. Knowing who is infected allows for isolations of those who are infected and tracking who they have come in contact with. Unfortunately, the current RT-qPCR techniques require professional laboratories and equipment and, therefore, take days to provide an answer. This does not allow for large scale or frequent testing. The RT-LAMP method does not require RNA isolation and is a colorimetric assay that does not require professional laboratories or days to conduct. It can, in principle, be performed by any individual as a self-test. Dr. Naama Geva-Zatorsky and her colleagues have provided a method that will allow widespread and repeated tests and can provide an accurate answer in 1 hour from nasal and oral swabs or saliva.
Dr. Geva-Zatorsky said “This method can provide a game-changer for surveillance of the wide population. It is simple and cheap and as such, with some further development which we are currently advancing, will be applicable to be performed in rural areas worldwide and even at home, by anyone.”
Dr. Steven R. Goodman, Editor-in-Chief of Experimental Biology & Medicine, said “Geva-Zatorsky and colleagues have provided a breakthrough in the global battle against the spread of COVID-19. Upon further validation, I can easily see this technology used not only in medical clinics, but also the workplace, at airports and eventually within our homes.”
Experimental Biology and Medicine is a global journal dedicated to the publication of multidisciplinary and interdisciplinary research in the biomedical sciences. The journal was first established in 1903. Experimental Biology and Medicine is the journal of the Society of Experimental Biology and Medicine.