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Chula research team comes up with innovative, fast, accurate, affordable Covid-19 test kit

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With Covid-19 cases soaring in Thailand, a research team from Chulalongkorn University has come up with “Covid-19 Scan” – an innovative test kit that is more than 98 per cent accurate.

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The team, led by Assoc Prof Dr Sanchai Payungporn from the Faculty of Medicine’s Department of Biochemistry, aimed to develop a kit that is convenient, fast, inexpensive and efficient.

“Those worried that they are at risk of Covid-19 infection but do not qualify for a test at the hospital can opt for the Covid-19 Scan kit, which is comprehensive and fast. The Chulalongkorn research team aims to create these kits as a service for the public to have the easiest access to screening,” Sanchai said.

The Covid-19 Scan kit employs molecular testing, like the Real-time PCR method, using saliva swab samples. The advantage of using saliva samples is that they are easy to collect and have a high infection detection rate within the first 11 days of symptoms. Collection of saliva is also easier and less difficult than nasal swabs and can be done as often as necessary. The processing time can take up to two hours depending on the sample volume.

The Covid-19 Scan kits use genomic DNA extraction and propagation process under a single temperature. Then the specific genetic material is detected by the CRISPR-Cas12a system, and if it is positive, it will glow under a blue light transilluminator.

Chula research team comes up with innovative, fast, accurate, affordable Covid-19 test kit

The efficacy of the Covid-19 Scan in clinical diagnosis is 100 per cent specificity, 96.23 per cent sensitivity, and 98.78 per cent accuracy. It also uses simple tools and less storage space. It is suitable for provincial hospitals and general clinics that do not have expensive Real-time PCR machines, as well as proactive, off-site testing, such as in industrial estates.

However, the kits are not yet available for self-use as they still need to be administered by expert medical personnel. The Covid-19 Scan is also 50 per cent cheaper than a Real-time PCR test.

Covid-19 Scan kits are suitable for virus screening missions, including medical agencies that must regularly screen for infected persons, such as the Division of Nephrology or Department of Internal Medicine, that need to screen medical personnel and kidney disease patients before undergoing dialysis. The Thai Red Cross Aids Research Centre uses these kits to test HIV-infected volunteers at the HIV-NAT unit after receiving the Covid-19 vaccination to assess the effectiveness of the vaccine in patients. The kits have also been used regularly to screen medical personnel and patients before treatments at such places as San Pa Tong Hospital Dental Work Unit in Chiang Mai.

 

Hospitals, medical agencies or companies interested to learn more about the “Covid-19 Scan” kits can visit http://www.covidscan.tech/ or email Micro Injection Company at [email protected], or call Somruedee at (092) 247 0019 or Maneerat at (082) 299 6333.

Published : July 13, 2021

By : The Nation