Scientists have invented an incredible technology for a CRISPR (clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats) based COVID-19 diagnostic test utilising the smartphone camera to give accurate results in 30 minutes. The novel diagnosis will not only give a result but also measure the viral load in a given sample. As of now a mobile phone user can see the status of COVID-19 patients using a mobile application.
CRISPR diagnostics needs the viral RNA be converted to DNA and amplified before it can be detected, adding time and complexity to the final diagnosis, the scientist said. “One reason we are excited about CRISPR-based diagnostics is the potential for quick, accurate results at the point of need,” said Jennifer Doudna, a senior investigator at Gladstone Institutes in the US.
Doudna is the 2020 Nobel Prize in Chemistry winner for inventing CRISPR-Cas genome editing, the technology that underlies this work. Sample is then placed in a device attached to a smartphone. If the sample contains RNA from SARS-CoV-2, Cas13 will be activated which cuts the reporter molecule, causing the emission of a fluorescent signal. The phone camera acts as a microscope which detects the fluorescence and report that a swab tested positive for the virus.