February 9, 2022, 02.29 PM

KOMPAS.com - Chinese scientists say they have developed a Covid-19 test that can process results as accurately as PCR tests in less than four minutes.

PCR tests are the most accurate on the market but must be processed in a lab, which so far takes a few hours at minimum. When labs are overwhelmed by local surges in infection, processing can last days.

Quicker, 15-minute rapid antigen tests are less reliable than the PCR alternative.

Researchers at Fudan University in Shanghai collected nasal samples from 33 PCR-positive Covid-19 patients, 23 PCR-negative patients, six influenza-positive patients, and 25 healthy volunteers. The test accurately processed all cases without error in under four minutes, according to a peer-reviewed study published Monday, Feb.7 in the journal Nature Biomedical Engineering.

PCR tests are more precise than antigen tests because they are more sensitive. Antigen tests require a higher concentration of the virus than PCR tests to show a positive result. This means antigen tests are more likely to show a false negative.

Also readIndonesia Prevents Covid-19 Swab Test from Unwanted Business Interests: Health Ministry

Antigen tests seek pieces of virus-infected proteins, while PCR tests search for viral genetic material like nucleic acids and RNA.

Until now, no technology has been created to properly detect Covid-infected nucleic acids and RNA without using extraction and amplification methods, for which you need a lab environment.

The Fudan University research was conducted on a small sample, said Andrew Ching, a professor of economics jointly appointed to the Johns Hopkins Department of Economics and the Bloomberg School of Public Health.

If the 100 percent accuracy rate were to hold up in a larger test sample, Ching said, “it could be a game-changer.”

Also read: Indonesian Covid-19 Patient Recovers after 22 Swab Tests in Three Months

However, he said, if the accuracy rate doesn’t hold up at a larger scale and becomes similar to that of the antigen test, it won’t make a difference.

May allow on-site testing at airports, clinics, at home

Ching said that because the structure of China’s government places more authority toward the top if the test is able to be produced at a large scale, he wouldn’t be surprised to see manufacturers coming out with versions by the summer.

“China tends to be more open to experimental methods,” he said, allowing approval processes to move more quickly than they would in Europe or the US.

Also readIndonesia Records over 3,000 Cases of Covid Omicron Variant

The test developed at Fudan University uses a hypersensitive electromechanical biosensor to detect nucleic acids previously difficult to identify due to their low concentration in test samples.

Researchers said the development of portable tests featuring such technology could enable on-site testing at airports, clinics, emergency departments, and at home. They added it could also be used for the quick diagnosis of other types of diseases.

There are countless brands of Covid-19 rapid at-home tests currently on the market, which vary in their accuracy.

Dapatkan update berita pilihan dan breaking news setiap hari dari Kompas.com. Mari bergabung di Grup Telegram "Kompas.com News Update", caranya klik link https://t.me/kompascomupdate, kemudian join. Anda harus install aplikasi Telegram terlebih dulu di ponsel.



Recommendation
Comment wisely and responsibly. Comments are entirely the responsibility of the commentator as regulated in the ITE Law
Report
Thank You! We have received your report. We will remove comments that conflict with the Community Guidelines and the ITE Law.

More Headlines

News
August 12, 2022, 04.41 PM

Researchers Warn of Melting Antarctic Ice Sheet

News
August 8, 2022, 09.07 AM

ASEAN Wraps Up Foreign Ministers Talks

Business
August 5, 2022, 10.13 PM

China Begins to Ship Bullet Trains to Indonesia

News
August 3, 2022, 02.03 PM

ASEAN Warns Myanmar Against More Executions

Close Ads