28 November, 2021
A new form of CRISPR technology that takes advantage of a compact RNA-editing protein could lead to improved diagnostic tests for COVID-19.
The platform, developed by bioengineer Magdy Mahfouz and his KAUST colleagues, relies on a miniature form of the Cas13 protein that some microbes use to defend themselves from viruses. This RNA-cutting enzyme can be designed to cleave any target sequence, including parts of the genome from SARS-CoV-2, the novel coronavirus responsible for the COVID-19 pandemic.
By pairing the Cas13 system with a simple nucleic acid amplification method, a handheld optical reader and a smartphone, the researchers created a low-cost, point-of-care test that could accurately diagnose COVID-19 from throat and nose swab samples taken from patients.
Image: KAUST researchers have created a low-cost, point-of-care test that can accurately diagnose COVID-19 from throat and nose swab samples.
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