Image: Various diagnostic techniques can be used to detect SARS-CoV-2 RNA (Photo courtesy of Saadet Alpdagtas and Elif Ilhan)
Despite various techniques for diagnosing COVID-19, no single test is available for the entire stage of the disease, although nanoscale sensor technologies can detect the attack at any stage of the disease. , according to the researchers.
Researchers from Van Yuzuncu Yil University (Van, Turkey) and their colleagues evaluated the diagnostic techniques available for COVID-19 and determined the key steps required for better testing in the future. Laboratory tests that target the genes of the virus – known as real-time reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction assays – are currently the gold standard for testing. But according to the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), these tests could give false negatives. These tests depend on the presence of antibodies, which may not yet have been developed in the early stages of infection. Since different antibodies appear at different stages, diagnostic tests should be chosen to target the appropriate immune response based on when an individual is believed to have been infected.
“There is no single test available for the entire stage of the disease,” said Oguzhan Gunduz, one of the researchers. “However, I think it may be possible to detect the attack at any stage of the disease with nanoscale sensor technologies.”
The researchers emphasized point-of-care testing as an urgent goal. These types of tests would help detect the virus on the spot without the need for laboratory equipment or specialized personnel, eliminating or reducing the wait time between testing and getting results.
“A fairly sensitive test that can measure the existing tiny number of viral particles, or any parameter related to the particle – weight, structure, charge, diameter – can provide rapid and early diagnosis,” Gunduz said.
Asked about the potential for a more comfortable testing method, Gunduz stressed that it depends on the sampling method and its sensitivity. A fingertip blood test or saliva test could potentially be in progress, although these have their own drawbacks.
“There are such tests, but they pose problems of precision and specificity,” Gunduz added.
Van Yuzuncu Yil University