A virus diagnosis device that gives lab-quality results within just three minutes has been invented by engineers at the University of Bath.
The prototype LoCKAmp device uses innovative ‘lab on a chip’ technology and has been proven to provide rapid and low-cost detection of COVID-19 from nasal swabs. The research team, based at the University of Bath, say the technology could easily be adapted to detect other pathogens such as bacteria – or even conditions like cancer.
The device works by rapidly releasing and amplifying genetic material from a nasal swab sample by carrying out a chemical reaction to produce a result, which can be viewed on a smartphone app.
Unlike lateral flow assay tests, commonplace during the pandemic, the LoCKAmp employs the same ‘gold standard’ genetic-based testing techniques previously reserved for lab-based PCR (polymerase chain reaction) tests, thus enabling rapid testing at laboratory-scale standard.
The device and how it works is detailed in the research paper LoCKAmp: lab-on-PCB technology for <3 minute virus genetic detection, published in the journal Lab on a Chip.