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New research: Platform shown to perform mass testing for coronavirus

SwabSeq, a testing platform that uses sequencing to test thousands of samples at a time to detect Covid-19, was able to perform more than 80,000 tests in less than two months.

By: Express News Service | New Delhi |
Updated: July 7, 2021 7:09:28 am
An exhausted worker in a booth rests during Covid-19 testing at a site in Seoul, South Korea, Tuesday, July 6, 2021. (AP Photo/Ahn Young-joon, File)

In an article in Nature Biomedical Engineering, a team of scientists from the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) have reported real-world results on SwabSeq, a testing platform that uses sequencing to test thousands of samples at a time to detect Covid-19. They were able to perform more than 80,000 tests in less than two months, with the test showing extremely high sensitivity and specificity, UCLA said in a press release.

SwabSeq uses sample-specific molecular barcodes to simultaneously analyse thousands of samples for the presence or absence of SARS-CoV-2.

SwabSeq was granted FDA Emergency Use Authorization in October and is currently deployed at UCLA in a high-complexity laboratory, which has performed over 150,000 tests since December 2020.

SwabSeq is a flexible protocol and can rapidly scale up testing for novel pathogens.

“We have optimized SwabSeq to prioritize scale and low cost, key factors that are missing from current Covid-19 diagnostics,” the authors write.

UCLA quoted Dr Valerie Arboleda, lead scientist on the project, as saying: “These results demonstrate the potential of SwabSeq to be used for SARS-CoV-2 testing on an unprecedented scale. SwabSeq offers a potential solution to the need for population-wide testing to stem the pandemic.”

Source: UCLA

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