A team of researchers at Alfaisal University developed a highly sensitive COVID-19 PCR test, that can be completed in only 30 minutes. The team is led by Professor Ahmad Aljada at the College of Medicine. “Our test could detect up to one copy of the virus, and yet does not require technical expertise, as it bypasses RNA isolation”, indicated Professor Aljada. Swaps can be added directly to a tube containing the specially formulated solution of viral transport medium.
This solution inactivates the virus, stabilizes the RNA, and does not interfere with the PCR. The test is portable and thus can be deployed to screen large gatherings such as Hajj. This platform can be adapted in future to diagnose other infectious diseases. All enzymes needed for the test are prepared in-house by the team. The project was supported by a grant from King Abdulaziz City for Science and Technology (KACST), executed by a highly dedicated team of Alfaisal students and researchers, and fostered by the empowering strategy of the College Dean Professor Khaled Al-Kattan.