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Researchers in the US are using the CRISPR gene-editing technology to devise a COVID-19 diagnostic test that they say could be quick, inexpensive and only slightly more complicated than a pregnancy test, CBC News reported.
Piyush Jain, assistant professor at the University of Florida, said the technique could be used to detect the RNA of SARS-CoV-2 in saliva, adding that the test would display its results on a paper strip in around 45 to 60 minutes.
Jain hopes an eventual testing kit will be available for $5 for the public, then eventually at around $2 US per kit, and said that his team is working with "multiple potential commercial partners" and hopes that once the test kit is approved for general use, they can produce up to one million kits a day.
"The first stage will be to get an approval for a lab-based test and then get an approval for a hospital to do the test, and then eventually get an approval for the home-based test kit," explained Jain, adding that he expects it would take months before the test is available to use at home.
The FDA has issued more than 60 COVID-19 diagnostic tests emergency-use authorisation, including a CRISPR-based version developed by Sherlock Biosciences, but none of the tests have received clearance for at-home use.
Sherlock CEO Biosciences Rahul Dhanda said that the company is working to increase production of the test kit, and hopes to test hundreds of patients a day in hospital settings by the summer.
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