New Test Method For Covid-19 Potentially Detects Infection Within A Few Hours
The team describes the level of their invention as ‘infancy’.
WASHINGTON: According to a recent study, scientists have created a new test for COVID-19, which examines the body's immunological response at the molecular level.
The study found that their approach might potentially detect infections within a few hours of exposure, which is much earlier than the COVID-19 tests can now detect the virus.
Frank Zhang, the study's lead author and an assistant professor at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, stated that the majority of COVID-19 tests already in use "rely on the same idea," which is that you have acquired a detectable amount of viral material, for example, in your nose.
When the infection window is still open and you haven't acquired much viral material or you don't have any symptoms, Zhang added, "that offers a hurdle."
Instead, the new method is based on how our bodies respond when SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, invades them. In the journal Cell Reports Methods, the team describes their invention, which is still in its infancy.
Certain genes activate when the attack begins. These genes' segments result in the mRNA molecules that direct the synthesis of proteins.
According to the study, the specific combination of those mRNA molecules alters the kinds of proteins generated, including proteins with roles related to virus defence.
The relative quantity of the different mRNA molecules can be used to determine with certainty whether the body is mounting an immunological response to the COVID-19 virus, according to the study. The current study is the first to use such a technique to diagnose an infectious condition, it claimed.
Blood samples from a 2020 study of US Marine recruits taken before and after the participants contracted COVID-19 were used by the researchers to fine-tune their approach.
More than 1,000 mRNA-variant ratio variations linked to disease were discovered by the researchers' computational framework, according to the study.
The new technique produced a remarkable 98.4% accuracy rate when put to the test on actual blood samples, according to the study.
This is especially impressive given that the method is equally effective in treating asymptomatic individuals, for whom quick antigen testing can only be more than 60% accurate, according to the study.
According to Zhang, the new strategy isn't yet ready for prime time. He and his colleagues only examined blood samples and not the more typical and practical nose samples for the diagnosis of COVID-19.