New and more sensitive COVID-19 tester works in 10 minutes

Researchers Lei Yu, Yingsong Wu, Guanfeng Lin, and their colleagues understood that it might be possible that people who endured SARS-CoV-2 might have antibodies that helped them recover, therefore, a sensitive test for identifying antibodies had to be made. The test uses a technique known as the lateral flow immunoassay (LFA), whose common example could be a pregnancy test, which uses a strip which is used to detect the results. The serum is poured through one end and reaches the other. A viral coat protein has been attached to the strip, which is made using nitrocellulose.

The antibodies get bond to the protein and then become visible to even the naked eye. The assay successfully identified the serum of the positive cases (7 out of the seven), plus one, which was a negative tested case with mild clinical symptoms. The 12 cases were borrowed from the test cases from the reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR), which is the most prevalent testing tool and seldom gives correct results.

The COVID-19 has a lot of different effects on its hosts. It is estimated five out of six people have the required level of immunity to survive and stay unaffected by the virus and its symptoms. However, the difference is that the previous test kit for the virus only confirmed if a person with severe symptoms has been infected by the virus. It is speculated that there is a large chunk of the population that has people who are already infected but have not shown any symptoms or mild symptoms. This could be due to the varying immunity level of different individuals.

The new test kit is much sensitive and will surely confirm if a person with or without symptoms has been infected. The curve is slowly flattening, and thus, there was an immediate need to secure the ones who have not been affected, preventing the virus from jumping to other hosts who might be more vulnerable.

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