Tulane researchers develop rapid COVID-19 saliva test read by a smartphone

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Photo credit Tulane University

Researchers from Tulane University have developed a COVID-19 test that can be read in 15 minutes using a smartphone.

Rapid covid tests typically use a nasal swab but this new test is done by testing the patient’s saliva, which does not require a lab.

“This test addresses the critical needs for a rapid, ultrasensitive COVID-19 diagnosis along with effective large-scale screening efforts,” said Tony Hu, PhD, corresponding author of the study and Weatherhead Presidential Chair in Biotechnology Innovation at Tulane University School of Medicine. “Our development can quickly identify patients who have the virus, which is required to help address the ongoing threat to public health worldwide.”

The Tulane researchers say the new saliva-based test is faster, more sensitive, and more user-friendly than standard PCR tests, while requiring fewer steps and less equipment.

“The sensitivity and simplicity of this test, its straightforward sample collection procedure, and the inexpensive nature of the readout device should permit the rapid translation of this approach to COVID-19 testing efforts once we obtain FDA approval,” Hu said.