Medhealth Review

Diagnostic Test within 10 Minutes

A new technology, Reverse Transcription-Free EXPAR testing, provides detection in as little as 10 minutes.

The test is quick because it avoids slower reverse transcriptase-based technologies. It combines PCR sensitivity with the speed of lateral flow tests.

According to comprehensive test evaluations, the method provides a quick, precise, highly sensitive, and simple COVID-19 test, allowing the test to be used in entertainment venues, airport arrival terminals, and other remote locations where clinical testing laboratories are not available.

The technique is more sensitive and faster than lateral flow tests, and it is equally sensitive to PCR and LAMP tests, both of which are currently used in hospitals.

It is critical that it can be used with testing techniques that do not require laboratory apparatus, as this will shorten the time it takes to obtain test results when compared to current techniques that require sending samples to specialised labs.

The assay was developed and tested by researchers at the University of Birmingham, who discovered that its sensitivity levels were comparable to those of quantitative PCR analysis.

As new viruses are discovered, the tests can be quickly changed to cover both novel variants and novel viruses using this new RTF-EXPAR testing platform.

University of Birmingham Professor Tim Dafforn claims, “The RFT test rapidly amplifies small quantities of viral genetic material, producing a detectable signal within 10 minutes, much faster than PCR or LAMP testing, and even quicker than lateral flow tests.”

He added, “The reverse transcription and amplification steps slow down existing COVID assays like LAMP and PCR, which are based on nucleic acid detection. An ideal test would have the ‘best of both worlds’ – both sufficiently sensitive and speedy.”

“The new RTF test achieves that goal in two ways. Firstly, the assay team designed a new RNA-to-DNA conversion step that avoids reverse transcription and secondly, the amplification step to generate the read-out signal uses EXPAR, an alternative DNA amplification process,” underlined he.

Professor James Tucker of the University of Birmingham remarked, “EXPAR amplifies DNA at a single temperature, thus avoiding lengthy heating and cooling steps found in PCR. However, while LAMP also uses a single temperature for amplification, EXPAR is a simpler and a more direct process, in which much smaller strands are amplified. This makes EXPAR an even faster DNA amplification technique than not only PCR but also LAMP.”

Must Read
Related Articles