Rapid Nucleic Acid Test for Covid-19

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, our research teams at the Department of Engineering Science and Oxford Suzhou Centre for Advanced Research (OSCAR) began work on a diagnostic test in January 2020. We have developed a novel and rapid test which detects the presence of viral RNA in a nasopharyngeal or oropharyngeal swab sample within 30 minutes. The novel design in OxLAMP (loop-mediated isothermal amplification) has a high specificity to confirm the presence of the SARS-CoV-2 virus in infected people. This method is a simplified one-step technology of a viral RNA test. The reagents can be stored and transported at room temperature for several months. The testing results can be either read by the naked eye or recorded by a high throughput instrument. Its uniqueness and versatility arise from the fact that it can be used in the field without specialist equipment or training. Our test can be adapted for use in diverse settings ranging from community care and schools to airports, or used for home self-testing.