Pocket PCR: new test strips outperform laboratory methods

In Accuracy and Speed ​​Imagine being able to get a lab-quality gene test result in minutes, at home, for just a few dollars. This future is closer than ever, thanks to new “test strip” technology developed by engineers at UNSW Sydney. DiscussPocket PCR: new test strips outperform laboratory methods© Ferra

These strips are comparable as accurate as traditional PCR tests, they provide rapid on-site detection of diseases. Unlike PCR tests, which require special equipment and experience, these strips are easy to use and resemble conventional rapid antigen tests.

The strips work by using nanocircles of DNA and CRISPR/Cas proteins. These proteins, known for their role in gene editing, are programmed to target specific DNA sequences. If the target is present, the nanocircles are destroyed, triggering a cascade reaction that is easily detected by the test strip even with a minimal amount of target DNA.

The applications of this technology are vast. Fei Deng, another researcher, believes the strips could speed up responses to emerging diseases, track antibiotic resistance and help conserve endangered species.

The team is already working with Australian industries to set up local production and explore different areas application.

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