Mexico develops a quick and cheap test to detect COVID-19

Scientists from the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM) are working on the development of a biosensor that will serve as a rapid, massive and low-cost screening test for COVID-19, the institution reported Wednesday.

In a statement, the researchers pointed out that the project is in the validation phase before the Institute of Epidemiological Diagnosis and Reference (Indre) of Mexico and in tests of different types of readers to determine the viral load.

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"It is estimated that its cost will oscillate around 300 pesos (about $ 12.3) per test, as opposed to the 1,500 to 2,000 pesos (between $ 61.7 and $ 82.3) that other diagnostic tests amount to," he noted in the note.

The team of researchers and students is part of the National Laboratory of Biomimetic Solutions for Diagnosis and Therapy (Lansbiodyt) of the UNAM Faculty of Sciences and has been working on a versatile biomolecule sensor for more than four years.

How does it work

The device makes possible "the detection of various antibodies and molecules such as glucose and insulin -to diagnose diabetes-, cholesterol, triglycerides, among others", of which they have a patent registered with the Mexican Institute of Industrial Property (IMPI).

Precisely because of its versatility and in the face of the global health emergency, the team decided to work the same line "on a biosensor that serves to detect this coronavirus cheaply, quickly and safely, without the need to use the instruments and the high costs involved in other tests such as the PCR (Polymerase Chain Reaction). "

"What we did was try to combine the specificity that a PCR gives you, which does not have that massive potential of a serological test, in a sensor that allows us to have specificity because what it detects is the viral genetic material, it detects the virus, but under certain experimental conditions that can be massive, "said Dr. Tatiana Fiordelisio, who along with Mathieu Hautefeuille, are the leaders of the project.

We designed "a sensor that has the specificity but is easy to use, easy to access, cheap, and can be taken everywhere, to places where there are no hospitals or clinical laboratories," he added.

He explained that the patient's sample would be taken from the nose or mouth and placed in a trisol solution, which is a commercial solution made up of chloroform and other solvents. At that time the virus would be inactivated, which would be a great advantage "because the sample can be transported to any other part without there being a danger of contagion."

Source: EFE

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