A Simple Test for Viral Detection

Nature Biomedical Engineering has published Assistant Prof. Alex Green’s development of a new test that uses strands of RNA.

Assistant Professor Alex Green (BME)

Gold-standard lab tests for viruses usually look at several sequences from the virus before determining that a sample is positive, which makes them hard to implement without expensive equipment in centralized facilities. Assistant Professor Alex Green and a team of researchers have developed a simple test that embeds the same functionality in a piece of paper. The new test uses strands of RNA that operate like a computer to detect multiple sequences from a virus to return a test result. The RNA computer diagnostic achieves performance that matches approved lab tests when detecting the SARS-CoV-2 virus from saliva samples and can be used to detect multiple strains of the flu virus at the same time.

Green’s research, Multi-arm RNA Junctions Encoding Molecular Logic Unconstrained by Input Sequence for Versatile Cell-Free Diagnostics, appears in Nature Biomedical Engineering, one of the world’s top academic journals in the field of biomedical engineering.