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Russian watchdog develops technology that can detect COVID at earliest stage

The greatest advantage of the system is its sensitivity

MOSCOW, February 14. /TASS/. Russian Federal Service for Surveillance on Consumer Rights Protection and Human Wellbeing (Rospotrebnadzor) Central Research Institute of Epidemiology developed a Covid detector. The technology makes it possible to diagnose Covid at early stages, Rospotrebnadzor said on its website Monday.

According to the agency, the technology detects the coronavirus in its minimal concentration. Its very high sensitivity is said to be the most important advantage of this invention.

"The technology is a complex of proteins, with some responsible for amplification of the material, […] while others - CRISPR/Cas proteins - are tasked with recognition of the target sequence (a SARS-CoV-2 genome fragment). It is these proteins and guide RNA, specific for SARS-CoV-2 virus genome, what makes this system ultra-sensitive, able to react to the minimum concentration of the virus, and make it possible to detect singular copies of its RNA in vitro in any biological sample," Rospotrebnadzor says.

According to one developer, head of the Center’s experimental pharmacology laboratory Alexander Tyumentsev, this invention may become a basis for a system that makes it possible to carry out rapid diagnostic right at a patient’s bed. This test system does not require high-technology equipment, and therefore its production cost is low, while results come back promptly. In perspective, this technology could be used for the development of highly sensitive and highly technological new generation diagnostic systems, including for newly emerging infections, the agency says.