Researchers have developed an assay that can detect the presence of SARS-CoV-2 in a nasal swab using a device attached to an ordinary smartphone, they report December 4 in the journal Cell. Although more research is needed before such a test can be rolled out, the results are promising and ultimately may be applicable to screening more broadly for other viruses.
“Our study shows that we can do the detection part of this assay very quickly, making the measurement with mass-produced consumer electronics,” says Daniel Fletcher, a bioengineer at the University of California in Berkeley and co-senior author on the paper. “We don’t need fancy laboratory equipment.”
Fletcher and other co-senior author Melanie Ott (@TheOttLab), a virologist at Gladstone Institutes and the University of California, San Francisco, began collaborating with Nobel laureate Jennifer Doudna, also a co-author on the study, about two years