Researchers and scientists at the University of Maryland are now working on developing a simple experimental diagnostic assay for the novel coronavirus that will provide a visual test result in just 10 minutes, without needing any kind of laboratory equipment. With the use of gold nanoparticles suspended in the liquid, the test is functioned to react in the presence of the specific genetic material of the coronavirus and help in diagnosing an active infection in the patient. After extracting the RNA from a saliva sample or nasal swab, the nanoparticles start binding to the specific proteins of the virus, and as the gold starts to form a cluster, the color of the liquid changes from purple to blue, becoming visible to the naked eye.
According to the researchers, based on the preliminary results, they believe that this promising new test being developed might be able to detect the virus as early as the first day of the infection. The level of accuracy of any test is based on its ability to detect any kind of virus accurately, which means it does not show a false-negative result or a false-positive result. Most diagnostic tests for COVID-19 that are currently available in the market cannot detect the virus until a few days after the infection, which results in a high rate of false-negative results.
A company named VitruVian Bio is helping develop the test for the widespread use and is also planning to hold pre-submission meetings with the FDA for emergency authorization. According to the researchers, the test could be far less expensive to manufacture than the regular COVID-19 tests that are available in the market, and the ease of using the test will make it perfectly suitable for nursing homes, college campuses, daycare centers or, offices and workplaces.