A new RNA-editing tool may provide a fast, sensitive test for COVID-19, according to a new study.
The tool, called RNA-seq, can rapidly detect small changes in the RNA of a virus, allowing researchers to distinguish between different strains of the virus and track how it mutates over time.
In the study, published in the journal Nature Medicine, researchers used RNA-seq to analyze the RNA of the SARS-CoV-2 virus, the cause of COVID-19.
They found that RNA-seq could detect changes in the RNA of the virus that were undetectable by other methods.
RNA-seq can be used to detect mutations in the virus that may be associated with drug resistance or other problems.
The tool may also be used to monitor the progression of the disease and to study the effects of new treatments.
“RNA-seq is a powerful tool that can be used to track the evolution of viruses and to understand how they cause disease,” said study senior author Andrew Ellington, PhD, a professor of biochemistry at the University of Texas at Austin.
“This study shows that RNA-seq can be used to detect small changes in the RNA of the SARS-CoV-2 virus that other methods cannot, which is important for understanding how the virus mutates and for tracking the progression of the disease.”
The study was conducted by a team of researchers from the University of Texas at Austin, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and the J. Craig Venter Institute.
RNA-editing tool a fast, sensitive test for COVID-19
A new RNA-based test for COVID-19 that can provide results in as little as four hours is being developed by researchers at the Stanford University School of Medicine.
The test, called RAT-COV, uses a technique called RNA-editing to detect the presence of the virus. RNA-editing is a process that can be used to make precise changes to the genome of a living organism.
“We believe that this test will be highly sensitive and specific for COVID-19,” saidlead author Michael Callahan, MD, PhD, an assistant professor of pediatrics at Stanford. “It will be able to detect the virus in a wide range of patients, including those who are asymptomatic or have very mild symptoms.”
The test works by looking for a specific RNA sequence that is found in the SARS-CoV-2 virus. This sequence is not found in other human viruses, so the test can rule out infection with other viruses, such as the flu.
Callahan and his team are currently working on optimizing the test for use in clinical settings. They hope to have it available for use in hospitals and clinics within the next few months.
The RAT-COV test is just one of several tools that Stanford Medicine is developing to help fight the spread of COVID-19. Others include a rapid, point-of-care test that can be used to screen patients for the virus and a mobile app that can be used to track the symptoms of COVID-19.