What if you could test yourself for Covid-19 using your phone camera? Scientists at the University of California, Santa Barbara, have developed a system that works in this way.
Preliminary experiments suggest the result is as accurate an indicator of infection as the PCR test. The research paper published in the journal JAMA Network Open, explains that ‘smartphone-based LAMP assay integrates reliable diagnostics with advantages of smartphone detection, offering an inexpensive diagnostic platform for SARS-CoV-2 and influenza A and B viruses that match the CDC RT-qPCR criterion standards.’
The researchers posit that the smartphone-based LAMP assay offers the potential to provide a critical tool to mitigate further stages of the COVID-19 pandemic. Additionally, the LAMP assay can be readily engineered to address novel CoV-2 variants and other pathogens with pandemic potential, including influenza.
The method as ascertained by Cnet, requires test-takers to download the app developed by scientists, Bacticount, sit their phone over a hot plate with the rear camera facing down. You place your saliva into a test kit that’s on the hot plate, pour in a reactive solution. The app will then determine the extent of the viral load in the saliva based on the speed of a colour reaction.
While the experiment is promising, it needs further examination before it can be introduced to the masses.