Nobel laureate is working on a Crispr-based rapid corona test

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Nobel laureate is working on a Crispr-based rapid corona test


A new rapid corona test based on the Crispr gene scissors should be able to detect the coronavirus much faster and cheaper than usual. A Nobel Prize winner is also on board.


Corona rapid test relies on Crispr gene scissors.


© Crocothery/Shutterstock
Corona rapid test relies on Crispr gene scissors.


The US-American biochemist Jennifer Doudna discovered the Crispr method together with the French microbiologist Emmanuelle Charpentier last week Nobel Prize in Chemistry 2020. Now Doudna and the gene scissors Crispr are making headlines again. Because Doudna is part of a US research team that has developed a rapid corona test based on Crispr. This test is supposed to clarify within just five minutes whether someone has been infected with the Sars-CoV-2 coronavirus.

Corona rapid test should be faster and cheaper

Video: Corona new infections: New high since April (dpa)

For comparison: So far it has taken hours, often up to a day, until the result of a corona test is determined. In addition, the equipment required for this is quite expensive. The rapid test based on Crispr should therefore be significantly faster and – because only a small detection device and a smartphone will be required – also be much cheaper than current PCR tests. The test device could be in doctor’s offices and private households and thus lower the threshold for testing, such as N-TV reports.

The novel Crispr rapid test works by detecting an RNA sequence that is only found in Sars-CoV-2, like that Science magazine writes. In the process, a guide RNA is created that matches the sequence sought – and therefore accumulates there. Then the gene scissors, the Cas-13 enzyme, are used. The RNA is cut at some points, which releases a separately introduced fluorescent particle in the test solution. This will detect the presence of the virus.

Validate the crispr test: further studies necessary

The special thing about the new test procedure is not only that it tests faster and cheaper than before, but also that in addition to the Presence of the virus the so-called viral load is also recognized. In the future, this should help doctors tailor their treatment to the patient’s condition. Now the US researchers are working to validate the test setup and find a way to market it. Further research is necessary for this.

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