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WEDNESDAY, Feb. 9, 2022 (HealthDay) -- A new coronavirus test that provides results within four minutes is as accurate as a polymerase chain reaction (PCR) lab test, according to the Chinese scientists who developed it.

The results of a clinical trial of the test, which uses microelectronics to analyze genetic material from nasal swabs, were published Feb. 7 in the journal Nature Biomedical Engineering.

The researchers at Fudan University in Shanghai used the test to analyze samples from 33 people who had the coronavirus and 54 uninfected people. PCR tests were also conducted.

The rapid test results were a perfect match with the PCR tests, according to the peer-reviewed study. The rapid test accurately detected all 33 coronavirus cases and did not give false negatives for any of the uninfected people.

"We implemented an electromechanical biosensor for the detection of SARS-CoV-2 into an integrated and portable prototype device, and show that it detected (virus RNA) in less than four minutes," the study authors wrote.

PCR tests are regarded as the most accurate and sensitive test for the coronavirus, but it usually takes several hours to get results. There were long waits for PCR test results during the surge of the Omicron variant because many labs couldn't keep up with demand.

Once it's fully developed, the new rapid test could provide quick results in a number of locations, including airports, health facilities and at home, the Fudan University team said.

They also believe the test might have uses beyond spotting COVID-19, including "the ultraprecise diagnosis of other diseases in a few minutes, without the need for target purification, amplification or culture, which normally requires hours or days."

More information

Find out more about at-home COVID tests at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

SOURCE: Nature Biomedical Engineering, Feb. 7, 2022

Updated on July 06, 2022

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