Spit, Wait, Scan – Low-Cost 3D Printed Device Can Detect COVID-19 in Your Spit

By: | August 9th, 2021

Image courtesy: Harvard

The coronavirus pandemic is far from over, it’s still wreaking havoc across the world. Despite the widespread availability of accurate and efficient diagnostic testing for detection, there is still a need to send most samples to a lab for processing. It can take anything from a few hours to days to receive the test results. The entire process is costly and time-consuming.

Faster diagnostic kits can help control the pandemic

Now, researchers at the Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering at Harvard University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), and several Boston-area hospitals have created a low-cost device to make testing easier and faster.

The diagnostic device is called Minimally Instrumented SHERLOCK (miSHERLOCK). It can detect SARS-CoV-2 from a saliva sample in about an hour. There is no need to transport patient samples to a laboratory. The results can be read and verified by an accompanying smartphone app.

Easier, simpler, and more effective!

During the testing, miSHERLOCK correctly identified COVID-19-positive patients 96% of the time and patients without the disease 95% of the time. The device could also successfully distinguish between three different variants of SARS-CoV-2 in experiments. It can be easily reconfigured to detect additional variants like the Delta.

The device relies on CRISPR technology. It is 3D printed and costs just $15. Re-use can bring down the cost of individual tests down to $6 each.

Nidhi Goyal

Nidhi is a gold medalist Post Graduate in Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences.

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