COVID-19 Drives CRISPR Diagnostics

May 14, 2020 | Biotechnology

This week, Lab.Equipment has curated a new Biotechnology article published from GEN just for you:

COVID-19 testing has been a failure in the United States since the very onset of the outbreak. Sick patients have had to wait for hours in lines outside hospitals or overnight in their cars. Those who were able to get their noses swabbed are subjected to a second wait for the results to be returned. Simply put, there are not enough tests to go around. And the ones that do exist take time to perform and have been saddled with concerns regarding sensitivity (identifying people who have the disease) and specificity (identifying people who don’t have the disease).

At the time of the writing of this article, in mid-April, just under 400,000 SARS-CoV-2 tests had been completed in the United States. Just over 40 test kit manufacturers have had Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) requests approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Some of the manufacturers of the approved diagnostics include Atila BioSystems, DiaCarta, Becton, Dickinson & Company, Abbott Diagnostics Scarborough, Qiagen, BGI Genomics, PerkinElmer, Cepheid, Thermo Fisher Scientific, and Roche Molecular Systems.

“Our main need is diagnostics,” said Charles Chiu, MD, PhD, professor of laboratory medicine in the division of infectious diseases at the University of California, San Francisco, during a virtual town hall held by SynBioBeta—a synthetic biology network. Diagnostics drive both the development of vaccines and therapeutics, Chiu explained, and they also inform public health responses.

“It’s absolutely critical that we have very rapid diagnostics that can be moved from the clinical labs to point-of-care settings,” he said. One of the few tools we possess to stop the spread of the virus is self-quarantine, he noted. “Having the ability to test at home is going to be critical.”

The race for improved COVID-19 diagnostics beyond the currently available real-time RT-PCR test will hopefully yield tests that are faster, more accurate, and affordable. Better tests would he... Want to read more? Find the whole article in the Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology News (GEN) Blog.

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