Khalifa University develops portable cost-effective PCR test kit

iStock [For illustration]

A team of researchers from Khalifa University (KU) has developed a portable COVID-19 testing kit, no larger than your average smartphone.

The new kit can deliver the results within 45 minutes.

While PCR testing is the gold standard for detecting viruses, it can be complex to use.

The researchers at KU used the Loop-mediated Isothermal Amplification method (LAMP) to provide a rapid, sensitive, and specific detection of the COVID-19 virus.

It performs COVID-19 detection directly from a patient’s swab. A simple colour change shows the result: pink for negative, yellow for positive.

Currently in the clinical validation stage, the kit can detect active infections in 45 minutes, meaning it can be used in rapid testing while being cost-effective at the same time.

When the coronavirus pandemic is over, the kits remain useful, as they can be used with any virus detecting primer.

Primers to detect an infectious agent can be produced quickly once the viral sequence is known, so if a new virus were to emerge, the team at Khalifa University would be able to detect it.

Dr. Anas Alazzam, Associate Professor of Mechanical Engineering and member of the System on Chip Center, SOCC, is the primary investigator for the project with Dr. Habiba AlSafar, Director of the Khalifa University Centre for Biotechnology and Associate Professor of Genetics and Molecular Biology, as co-principal investigator.

The research team includes the Postdoctoral Researchers Dr. Waqas Waheed and Dr. Sueda Saylan, along with Research Associate Hussein Kannout.

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