Researchers from the University of Melbourne have developed a new coronavirus test that can diagnose the disease in only 20 minutes. According to the study published in the Journal of Medical Microbiology, the rapid molecular test known as N1-STOP-LAMP has 100 percent accuracy while diagnosing samples containing high loads of the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus.

Tim Stinear, lead author of the study, said in a statement, "STOP-LAMP is what's referred to as a 'near care' test, it is not intended to replace the current gold standard PCR testing. It's a robust diagnostic test for the specific and rapid detection of COVID-19. But it's important to note however, it trades some detection sensitivity for speed and ease-of-use."

Easy to Use and Highly Accurate

COVID-19 Test
COVID-19 Test (Representational Picture) Pixabay

According to the researchers, the test is highly accurate and easy to use, making it a prime candidate for use in settings with limited testing capabilities. The method involves using a small portable machine, which can reliably detect SARS-CoV-2 from just one nasal swab.

In the race to control the COVID-19 pandemic, access to rapid, precision diagnostics is key, the research team said. "We have developed an alternative COVID-19 molecular test that can be readily deployed in settings where access to standard laboratory testing is limited or where ultra-rapid result turnaround times are needed," said Stiner.

Efficient And Low Cost

The study revealed that this new test uses only one tube and involves only a single step, making it more efficient and lower cost than many of the current tests for SARS-CoV-2. The N1-STOP-LAMP method was found to be 100 percent accurate and correctly identified 87 percent of tests as positive when used to assess 157 confirmed-positive samples.

The results were fast, with an average time-to-positive of 14 minutes for 93 of those clinical samples. "We see this kind of technology having a benefit in settings liked aged care facilities or overseas laboratories with limited resources and equipment," Professor Stinear said. "The test requires a small shoebox-sized machine, as well as reagents, but everything is portable," he noted.

(With inputs from agencies)