Keeping a vigilant watch on SARS-CoV-2

20 June, 2021

A SARS-CoV-2 lateral flow test that combines two bacterial enzymes with genetic sequences and a couple of probes is cheaper and easier to use than PCR tests while producing comparably reliable results. Called Vigilant and designed at KAUST, the test can detect very small amounts of viral RNA in a sample.

“Several types of lateral flow tests are currently available or under research for detecting SARS-CoV-2,” says KAUST Ph.D. student Tin Marsic. “Depending on how they work, they all have disadvantages, including detecting the virus only several days after infection or producing false positive and false negative results.” PCR tests, which are conducted in laboratories, produce more reliable results but are expensive and require sophisticated equipment and skilled personnel.

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Image: A new test for SARS-CoV-2 developed by KAUST scientists can be conducted in nonlaboratory settings and is significantly cheaper and easier to use than a PCR test.
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