Home COVID-19 testing could be more affordable thanks to your smartphone

Ever since the omicron variant arrived in the US, there has been a shortage of tests in the country. Stuck between long queues at dedicated clinics and overly expensive home tests, many Americans have understandably given up on the idea of ​​being tested to make sure they are not sick with COVID-19. However, a solution to some of these problems may be on the way.


University of California, Santa Barbara

In a recently published spot of , researchers from the University of California, Santa Barbara, detailed a system you can start using for around $ 100 if you already have access to a relatively modern phone. What’s more, they say, early results show that their process is almost as accurate as a PCR test (and thankfully does not involve sourcing your brain).

In its current iteration, the system involves downloading the team’s app to your phone, as well as making use of a heating plate and a cardboard box with LED lights. To test yourself, place a saliva sample on a test kit that costs about $ 7. You then drop a reactive resolution that makes it easier for your phone’s rear camera to detect any viral RNA in the sample. The solution turns light red as it binds to the viral material in your saliva. The Bacticount app then performs a real-time analysis based on how quickly the solution turns red.

As you might imagine, there is still a lot of work to be done before you can start using the SmaRT-LAMP test at home. The initial study is based on a small sample involving 50 symptomatic and asymptomatic individuals. In addition, the Bacticount app has so far only been optimized to work with the Samsung Galaxy S9. Still, the system promises. While it was primarily developed to help with testing in places that do not have access to sufficient resources, Dr. Michael Mann, the lead researcher on the project, Gizmodo that it could be adapted for home use. He also said it could be modified to detect new COVID-19 variants and other pathogens such as influenza.

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