Worldwide, the arduous efforts of scientists led to development of a vaccine for COVID-9 in the least time than ever before for a vaccine for any virus. Nonetheless, efforts for early detection of the virus to prevent it from spreading continues. A new way to detect proteins that constitute coronavirus as well as antibodies against the virus has been devised by scientists.
For the technique, scientists designed protein-based biosensors that emit light when mixed with elements of the virus or antibodies specific to COVID-19. With this breakthrough development, it could enable faster and more widespread testing of coronavirus in the near future.
The finding is published in Nature.
Lab Supplies, equipment requisites pitfalls of RT-PCR
At present, RT-PCR is the gold standard that most medical laboratories rely on to diagnose coronavirus infection. The technique works by amplifying genetic material of the virus so that it is visible. However, specialized staff, equipment, and lab supplies are requisites to carry out RT-PCR. And, in the current scenario, supply-chain deficits is a reason for slowed test results of COVID-19 in the U.S. and other parts of the world.
Meanwhile, a team of researchers at the Institute for Protein Design, UW Medicine used computers to design new biosensors in a bid to directly detect coronavirus that does not require genetic amplification. In terms of function, the newly devised biosensors, which are protein-based, recognize specific molecules on the virus’ surface, binds with them, and emit light via a biochemical reaction.
In fact, antibody testing reveals if a person had COVID-19 in the past. Whilst, the test is being widely used to track the spread of the pandemic, it requires complex laboratory supplies and equipment.