In the current fight against coronavirus of COVID-19, a scientific group has developed a new coronavirus testing technology based on mass spectrometry. The new method enables quick finding of viral proteins in swab samples from the sputum, nasopharynx, and mouthwashes. It can be the underlying model of a platform for rapid screening of the population for coronavirus infection. The description of the technology is published in the bioRxiv – an electronic scientific library.
Currently, ten and thousands of coronavirus tests are being conducted on a daily basis around the world. To contain the virus, rapid and accurate testing is said to be one of the key ways to control. Meanwhile, the standard method is based on polymerase chain reaction, which findsthe presence of viral RNA in a sample. It does so by propagating the number of viral RNA in the sample to the detection method. Whilst this method is generally available and widespread, it is relatively slow and results in a significant number of false-negative test results.
Method based on ubiquitous Mass Spectrometry
Meanwhile, mass spectrometry is the most informative modern technology for the investigationof molecular substances, including complex multicomponent mixtures. Function-wise, in mass spectrometers, materials are ionized and their mass is being measured using magnetic fields and electric fields.
In the medical field, in particular, mass spectrometry is used in biochemical analysis to identify and determine the amount of protein, lipids of metabolites, and other chemical compounds in physiological fluids and body tissues.
As part of the study, the team of researchers along with a team of medico at the Russian Academy of Sciences have learned how to find and detect proteins that are part of a viral particle and that are unique, found only in this virus type.