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UGA: Research team developed more accurate home COVID test to cover all current and future variants

The technology is said to be "much more accurate" than what is currently available on the market.

ATLANTA — The University of Georgia said Thursday that one of its research teams had developed a "much more accurate" COVID rapid home test than those currently on the market, which will also be cheaper and work faster.

A post on the school's news site touted the team's developments, published in the May edition of the journal Sensors and Actuators B: Chemical.

The test uses "nanotechnology-based optical sensors designed for COVID-19 detection," according to the post, and research lead author Yanjun Yang said the technology is "much more accurate" than what is currently available on the market.

It would cover all current and future variants as well, according to the UGA news site.

“Right now, we already have rapid antigen test kits available on the market, though the big issue continues to be the high rate of false positives, around 60%,” Yang, a doctoral student at the UGA College of Engineering, said. “Our technology, also in a rapid kit but using a spectrometer to do the detection, is much more accurate.”

The UGA news site said a test resulting from their research should cost within $10.

Yiping Zhao, who with Ralph Tripp led the research team, told the UGA news site that their test "shall have a much better sensing performance than the rapid test kits, very close to the PCR tests currently in use" and that it will take about 10 minutes to conduct. 

According to the post, the new test detects COVID "using a localized surface plasmon resonance (LSPR) virus sensor, developed based on human angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 protein (ACE2) functionalized silver nanotriangle arrays."

The paper concludes its sensor provides several advantages to currently available tests: that it is straightforward and inexpensive, that it "can be fabricated into a large and uniform area," and that the sensor measurement "can be fulfilled by a handheld UV-Vis (ultraviolet visible) spectrometer."

Tripp, a  UGA professor, called the platform "a significant leap forward in diagnostics."

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