SEOUL -- Researchers have developed a virus detection platform that offers test results in some 10 minutes by extracting long double-stranded ribonucleic acid (RNA) that are common byproducts of viral activities, without the need for the amplification of specific DNA targets.
RNA is a polymeric molecule essential in various biological roles in coding, decoding and expression of genes. Virus-specific double-stranded RNA (dsRNA) is found in cells infected with single-stranded RNA virus groups including coronavirus.
The Korea Advanced Institute of Science & Technology (KAIST) said in a statement on Thursday that its research team has developed a reactive poly (pentafluorophenyl acrylate) (PPFPA)-grafted surface and a dsRNA-recognizing antibody that can detect the presence of different kinds of viruses without prior knowledge of their genomic sequences by distinguishing long dsRNAs from single-stranded RNAs of the same length and short dsRNAs.
"The type of virus detected cannot be identified, but the platform could be used to quickly check the positive response of infectious diseases in multiple densely-populated locations, such as airports and schools," professor Kim Yoo-sik was quoted as saying.
Kim's team said the sensitivity of the PPFPA-grafted surface virus detection platform was greatly increased by adopting a two-step method capturing dsRNAs using PPFPA-grafted surface and visualizing them with multiple fluorophore-tagged antibodies.
Through tests, cells infected with hepatitis A or C viruses were successfully detected using a single platform in 10 minutes. South Korea uses the real-time RT-PCR method to find signs of COVID-19 infection using the amplification of DNA which takes about six hours to get results.
By using the new long dsRNA-detection method, medical officials can quickly check to see if people are infected with any kinds of infectious diseases at crowded facilities such as schools and hospitals.
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