Breakthrough in Household COVID-19 Testing Market: Newly Developed Test Can Take Samples through Phone and Send Results via SMS
Posted On July 15, 2021
Constant screening of COVID-19 is currently one of the biggest priorities of the world as new variants of the virus keep emerging, and the vaccination drives in most countries are not yet in full swing mode. However, bulk testing is not only expensive but also physically invasive, the two biggest hurdles on the road to an efficient test and trace mechanism.
To tackle both these issues, researchers have developed an accurate, low-cost, and non-invasive testing method for coronavirus, wherein the samples could be taken from the screens of mobile phones. The new method, referred to as PoST (Phone Screen Testing), is a great breakthrough for Household COVID-19 Testing Market as it has the ability to detect the virus through phones as it showed 81% to 100% accuracy in determining people with high viral load. Thus, the test has been proved to have shown accuracy as an antigen lateral flow test.
PoST is an environmental test instead of a clinical test. It is neither invasive nor expensive, in contrast to the traditional nasal swabbing PCR. Thus, it can be a great option for lower-income countries as it does not entail any of the discomforts associated with the COVID-19 tests that are currently present. So, it has the potential to increase the take-up of regular testing amongst the general population. Furthermore, the test sampling takes around only a minute and has no requirement of medical personnel; for these reasons, it can be easily incorporated at a large scale in big facilities.
The team came up with the present test by analyzing the swabs through smartphone screens rather than directly through individuals. They discovered through their experiments that people testing positive through nasal swabbing PCRs also showed to be positive when their samples were taken through smartphone screens.
Through PoST, researchers believe that we would be able to mass test COVID-19 easily and would have a huge fighting chance towards defeating the outbreak of newly occurring viruses, manmade or natural, so that future pandemics can be avoided. To advance their research, the team is in the midst of developing a machine at present that will build upon this research. It is expected to safely take a phone for PoST sampling and would deliver the tests of the result directly via SMS so that minimum contact can be assured between populations.
The test is a saving grace for all low-income countries that have been finding it hard to manage their medical facilities while ensuring mass testing of their citizens. Not only this but as the samples of the test can be given remotely, the test can also be used by individuals from their homes, helping in lessening the burden on already exploited medical sectors of poor countries.