Fri. Apr 10th, 2020

Miami team led by a Spanish woman creates a quick and easy test for COVID-19



Miami, Mar 23 (EFE News) .- A team of researchers from the University of Miami (UM) with the Spanish Sylvia Daunert at the forefront has developed a test to find out if a person has coronavirus without the need for a laboratory or medical intervention. and in just 30 minutes.

“We are finishing the tests that the FDA (Food and Drug Administration of the USA) requires to present an application for approval,” Daunert told Efe from the laboratory where a team of about 30 to 40 people works “day and night” , 6 of them young Spanish scientists.

The North Carolina Heat Biologics biopharmaceutical company collaborates in this project at the UM Miller School of Medicine, specifically the laboratory of the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, directed by Daunert, a Barcelona woman who has worked at this university for 10 years.

Daunert says he does not expect the new test to detect the coronavirus to be on the market for two months, although that delay does not worry him because “unfortunately” it will still be needed, he says.

“This goes on for a long time,” he stresses about the spread of the new virus.

The test that Daunert and his team have developed is characterized by the ease and speed in which the result is obtained.

It is not as easy as a pregnancy test, but it does not require a clinical analysis laboratory or a doctor.

Simply take a sample of the person’s pharynx with a stick that is part of the kit, apply reagents that come in a tube and pass it through a strip of paper where the result can be seen after 30 minutes.

It is not intended for the person to do. The idea is for it to be used by first aid personnel, pharmacies, community employees, nurses, and customs officers.

“It is much cheaper than the other tests already in place,” said Daunert.

Commercial production, after FDA approval, will be handled by Heat Biologics, which is also involved in a project to develop a coronavirus vaccine by another team of UM scientists.

“Our laboratory has extensive experience in developing accurate and easy-to-use tests for communicable diseases such as HPV (human papilloma) and Zika,” says Daunert in the statement in which UM unveiled the project.

Unlike the IgG and IgM tests that detect antibodies, which “can take weeks to appear”, this test uses molecular recognition and viral target amplification techniques, according to researchers Sapna Deo and Jean-Marc Zingg, who also collaborate on the project.

That, they added, may allow earlier detection, within two days of exposure to the virus, which means important information to “help slow the spread of the disease.”

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