31 Mar 2020

Shining a light on rapid diagnosis of COVID-19 infection: the LAMP test

Professor Patrick Kwan leads a Monash team
using LAMP technology for rapid genetic
testing of COVID-19 virus infections
by Tania Ewing

Despite reports of a new finger-prick blood test being available soon – which tests whether a person has been infected with COVID-19 and therefore may have immunity – the currently available test for the virus, while the patient has active infection with or without symptoms, is expensive and takes up to five days to return a result.

There is an urgent global need for a cheap, fast and accurate diagnostic test that can tell doctors, and the patient, whether they currently have the virus and need to isolate. Such a test, if available, could be used for people returning from overseas, off cruise ships, etc – immediately informing authorities of those who run the risk of taking the infection into the community.

Scientists at Monash University are currently working on adapting a technology developed two decades ago to create an assay that has the potential to produce a result in less than an hour. The test will therefore be able to provide real-time information about the number of active cases to inform important public health decisions.
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