Researchers at the University of Arizona say a newly developed test for COVID-19 can be easily and cost-effectively assembled and deployed — and could produce results in as little as 10 minutes.
The new technique requires only a basic microscope, microfluidic paper and a smartphone.
The user adds antibodies with fluorescent beads to a sample; if the pathogen is present, the antibodies clump together around it, and the resulting fluorescent spots can be seen on a smartphone photo under the microscope.
The entire process takes 10 to 15 minutes, and is so simple that a non-scientist could be taught to perform it with a brief video.
More importantly, the method produces results that rival a nasal swab test with equipment that only costs about $45.
Arizona biomedical engineers originally developed the test to detect norovirus. They detailed their work in the hopes that scientists elsewhere could create their own devices to detect coronaviruses or other microbes.