New technique to make a modest and rapid COVID-19 test dependent on isothermal amplification

New technique to make a modest and rapid COVID-19 test dependent on isothermal amplification


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  • Source: National Research University Higher School of Economics

  • Date: 30 Dec,2021

Russian researchers have devised the method to make an affordable and quick COVID-19 test that relies on isothermal amplifying. According to their paper in Applied Biochemistry and Microbiology The using this method can allow researchers to create universal test methods for any COVID-19 variations.

There are many options for devices that detect the presence of SARS-CoV-2 within human blood samples or secretion samples. They typically detect fragments of COVID-19’s pathogen’s RNA by using polymerase chain reaction (PCR) along with its analogs or antibodies against COVID-19.

In general, a considerable amount of time is needed for the test, which ranges between 30 minutes and many hours. This is the reason why scientists are seeking innovative, quicker ways to identify antibodies or COVID infections.

Julia Makarova, Associate Professor at the HSE Faculty of Biology and Biotechnology She collaborates with colleagues to develop an alternative method to PCR tests built on loop-mediated amplifying (LAMP). This test method allows for the multiplication of specific DNA and RNA fragments derived from bio samples through the help of specific markers and the fermentation of extremophilic bacteria which are found in hot springs.

The major benefit of LAMP over conventional the PCR method is that every reaction can be done in the same manner at the same time. This makes it easier and faster to complete the process. However, these systems are more complex to design and come with a few limitations which have limited their application in COVID-19 test systems.

The Russian researchers came up with a method to help overcome these issues and offer health professionals the opportunity to make use of LAMP tests to identify traces of COVID variants within samples of blood and mucus without the need for a pre-processing in the laboratory.

In the words of Dr. Makarova, this could lower the price of COVID-19 tests significantly and accelerate the process as no specialized professionals or expensive equipment will be required.

The virus mutates quite fast, and the test systems that were created a year ago may be not as effective as they used to be. We analyze the mutations and are looking for the most stable parts of the virus genome. This will help create test systems that recognize all the existing variants and, importantly, the new variants that are appearing.”

Julia Makarova, Associate Professor, HSE Faculty of Biology and Biotechnology, National Research University Higher School of Economics

Journal reference:

Makarova, J. A., et al. (2021) Loop-Mediated Isothermal Amplification as a Promising Method for Mass COVID-19 Diagnostics. Applied Biochemistry and

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