Irene Yi / AP
Kiwi scientists are testing a new way to screen Covid-19 using saliva samples. This photo was taken of a student doing the Covid-19 test at the University of California, Berkeley.
New Zealand scientists are looking at new ways to screen COVID-19 They say the turnaround time of the test can be reduced from 24-48 hours to just a few minutes.
AgResearchThe Crown Institute for New Zealand’s agricultural sector is proposing to run saliva samples from people undergoing Covid-19 testing on a dedicated machine to reduce processing time.
Newly funded research Mass spectrometer It is used to measure hundreds of molecules in saliva.
Alastair Ross, senior scientist at AgResearch, said this could make responding to positive cases of Covid-19 much faster and reduce the waiting time for patients waiting for results.
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Ross said New rapid screening test You may be able to easily and frequently monitor groups that are at high risk of being infected with the virus, such as those who work in. Quarantine facility Or a hospital.
This study, supported by the Institute for Environmental Sciences (ESR), is government funded. Covid-19 Innovation Acceleration Fund.
Mass spectrometers generate charged molecules (ions) from a sample and detect them based on their size (molecular weight).
Scientists will use this device to find molecules related to how the body reacts to the virus, and perhaps molecules from the virus itself.
Studies have shown that viral infections cause metabolic changes that can be detected in the blood using a lab-based mass spectrometer, Ross said.
A new generation of smaller and more portable machines is now available to find “metabolic fingerprints” in samples within seconds of measurement.
Saliva near the respiratory tract is near where the SARS-CoV-2 virus, which causes Covid-19, is most affected.
Saliva samples are also easily accessible and most people have no problem providing them, Ross said.
According to Ross, researchers expect the new method to support New Zealand’s current test methods.
“Our goal is to determine if this new approach to detecting Covid-19 is feasible within six months of the start of this project,” he said.
Dr. Brett Cowan, chief scientist at ESR, said “state-of-the-art research could be a viable and robust method for saliva testing,” supporting current testing methods at the border.
According to Cowan, ESR is currently working on a short-term saliva testing solution that uses foreign technology and has a separate layer of protection at the border.
thing Previously reported products Marketed to New Zealand health authorities.
The results of the AgResearch project will be evaluated within 6 months.
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