Aussie technology raises hope of cheap, accurate COVID-19 diagnosis

Xinhua News,SYDNEY
2020-10-07 14:26

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SYDNEY, Oct. 7 (Xinhua) -- Australian researchers said on Tuesday that they have developed a technology that can extract genetic material crucial for accurate COVID-19 diagnosis in just 30 seconds.

The technology used a palm-sized portable machine and a low cost "dipstick" that can be made in bulk with a household pasta maker.

The dipstick technology, developed by Professor Jimmy Botella and Dr. Michael Mason from the University of Queensland in Australia, was able to do purification of DNA and RNA nucleic acids from patient samples -- a critical step in COVID-19 diagnosis and generate a full molecular diagnosis in 40 minutes, without the need of building a large lab.

"That process is currently achieved using large and expensive commercial set-ups that require multistep procedures and specialized laboratory equipment," Botella said.

"In contrast, our dipstick tech is incredibly cheap and can be used virtually anywhere, without the need for specialized equipment or a laboratory."

The diagnosis process involved only two main components: a highly portable diagnostic machine that can be powered by a cigarette lighter connection and a dipstick that was made using a pasta maker, wax and filter paper.

As both of two components were low cost and workable virtually anywhere without a lab environment, the researchers were hopeful the implementation of the technology could help developing countries better contain the virus.
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