Rapid colorimetric assay for detection of COVID-19
Magdy Mahfouz is developing a simple, sensitive, accurate and point-of-care diagnostic test that will allow individuals to be quickly tested in any environment. The technology is based on the targeting of the SARS-Co-V2 virus RNA genome and converting a specific piece of the RNA genome into DNA molecules via reverse transcription. The DNA molecules are then amplified at a single temperature that does not require successive heating and cooling cycles, and this can be completed in just one hour using a portable simple machine. If the sample is positive, it would lead to a change of color that can be seen by the naked eye.
Such visual and colorimetric detection of the COVID-19 virus in patient samples will enable screening large populations in a short time. The group is also working on developing other versions of diagnostic platforms based on the same principle coupled with CRISPR enzymes, which can be used for home or point-of-care detection similar to pregnancy test strips and diabetes sensors. These efforts may contribute to overcoming the current challenge of COVID-19 detection at a large scale and in a short time for effective disease management and control.