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Apr. 19, 2021

A faster diagnostic test for COVID-19

Photo of Rikiya Watanabe

Scientists from the RIKEN Cluster for Pioneering Research have developed a new technology that can be used to diagnose COVID-19 in just minutes, by detecting single molecules of the virus RNA. Unlike the most commonly used method today, PCR, it does not require amplification of the RNA. The breakthrough, led by Chief Scientist Rikiya Watanabe and published in Communications Biology, was developed by using a method called SATORI, which is a combination of leading-edge microchip technology and CRISPR-Cas13, a method used to detect nucleic acids. Despite its rapidity, the cost per test is relatively close to PCR. In addition to COVID-19, SATORI technology could also be used to detect biomarkers in other diseases such as cancer, and the group is currently exploring new uses in addition to COVID-19. The article is available online in Communications Biology as (DOI : 10.1038/s42003-021-02001-8)