Reliable testing remains one of the most crucial aspects in the global battle against the novel coronavirus. Research led by Prof. Nir Friedman and Prof. Naomi Habib at Hebrew University in Jerusalem has developed a new method of testing that they claim is cheaper and faster than the test now being used in Israel.
“The virus detection protocol we developed is four-to-ten times faster than the current protocol,” Prof. Habib explains. “It is based on magnetic beads and works both robotically and manually. The robotic protocol has already been tested at Hadassah Hospital and is now fully operational.”
The current standard test for COVID-19 involves extracting RNA molecules from a patient’s swab sample to see if it contains viral RNA. If it does, this confirms the virus’s presence in the body.
Friedman and Habib’s test does the same thing, but faster and cheaper than imported kits, as it relies on readily available materials. Magnetic beads are the only item in the protocol that still needs to be imported. However, these beads can be recycled and used again and again.
Friedman says, “our COVID-19 test significantly reduces labs’ dependence on external factors. To date, we’ve tested hundreds of clinical samples from Hadassah Hospital and our results were identical to those found by the kits currently being used.”
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