Murdoch University and the Perron Institute's latest research is paving the way for the development of new technology screening platform that can detect Covid-19 quickly and precisely without reducing the quality.
Sentinel saliva sampling, developed by a medical device company, utilises sensitive molecular processes and ultra-high throughput technology to screen potentially infectious, asymptomatic carriers. It can process up to four thousand samples per hour and report results in 25 minutes. The most recent data, published in the journal Nature Scientific Reports, shows a 98% accuracy in identifying the SARS-CoV-2 virus in samples.
While the diagnostic standard RT-PCR test, it is too slow for large-scale routine surveillance screening and quarantine applications. Meanwhile, rapid antigen tests (RAT) are more convenient to use, but they are insufficiently sensitive in detecting the virus in infected people who are contagious but show no symptoms.
Effective viral surveillance to contain outbreaks requires frequent testing with more sensitive assays, particularly as new variants arise. The new screening technology, will identify infectious patients sooner and eliminate the threat of unwanted community transmission, will help fasten the pandemic’s closure.
The proposed large-scale and user-friendly saliva testing platform combines accuracy and scalability to reduce the risk of viral transmission as restrictions are lifted and to prepare for future threats.
It would allow for more frequent testing in supplementing vaccines to reduce the spread of highly infectious pandemic like COVID-19. The medical device company's rapid, ultra-sensitive Sentinel screening system is still being develop.