A rapid molecular test called N1-Stop-LAMP is 100% accurate in identifying samples containing SARS-CoV-2 at high loads, according to an Australian study published in Journal of Medical Microbiology.1 The test can diagnose covid-19 in just 20 minutes.
The test is highly accurate and easy to use, making it a prime candidate for use in settings with limited testing capabilities. The method involves using a small portable machine, which can reliably detect SARS-CoV-2 from just one nasal swab. “In the race to control the covid-19 pandemic, access to rapid, precision diagnostics is key. We have developed an alternative covid-19 molecular test that can be readily deployed in settings where access to standard laboratory testing is limited or where ultra-rapid result turnaround times are needed,” says University of Melbourne Professor Tim Stinear, laboratory head at the Doherty Institute.
This test uses only one tube and involves only a single step, making it more efficient and lower cost than many of the current tests for SARS-CoV-2. The N1-STOP-LAMP method was found to be 100% accurate and correctly identified 87% of tests as positive when used to assess 157 confirmed-positive samples. The results were fast, with an average time-to-positive of 14 minutes for 93 of those clinical samples.
“We see this kind of technology having benefit in settings liked aged care facilities, or overseas laboratories with limited resources and equipment,” Professor Stinear says. “The test requires a small shoebox-sized machine, as well as reagents, but everything is portable.”
“STOP-LAMP is what’s referred to as a ‘near care’ test; it is not intended to replace the current gold standard PCR testing. It’s a robust diagnostic test for the specific and rapid detection of covid-19. But it’s important to note, however, it trades some detection sensitivity for speed and ease of use.”
- Lee JYH, Best N, McAuley J, et al. Validation of a single-step, single-tube reverse transcription loop-mediated isothermal amplification assay for rapid detection of SARS-CoV-2 RNA. Epub. August 5, 2020. J Med Microbiol. doi:1099/jmm.0.001238.