Israeli team develops a test kit for Coronavirus to test several at once

The new pooling method developed by an Israeli team allows testing even the people with no symptoms and to carry out the tests on dozens of samples at once. It can significantly accelerate the rate at which tests for Coronavirus are being carried out.

New method for Coronavirus testing developed by Israeli team
The pooling method can significantly accelerate the rate of testing. (Image)

Israeli researchers at Technion University and Ramban Health Care Campus have developed a more efficient method for the diagnosis of Coronavirus which can test several samples at once. This will mean a dramatic increase in the rate at which Coronavirus tests are carried out, reported Jerusalem Post. While the current testing methods in use around the world focus mainly on the people having the symptoms and that too one at a time, the new testing method allows testing asymptomatic people and in dozens. So, overall that could accelerate the efforts to curb the spread of the deadly virus sharply.

Technion’s president Prof. Uri Sivan spoke that it was a complex experiment and would have taken months to be completed under normal circumstances. It was a remarkable example of the mobilization of an outstanding team during a crisis. The initial phase of the experiment was completed in only four days. Currently, the PCR (polymerase chain reaction) method being used in Israel can test only 1200 a day where each one has to be examined individually. Moreover, each test takes several hours and at this rate, the efforts to curb Coronavirus would have moved slowly. The Rambam Clinical Microbiology Laboratory could test only 200 samples of Covid-19 each day.

Under the new pooling method, it is possible to conduct molecular testing for the Coronavirus by combining samples taken from 32 to 64 patients and thus testing dozens of them simultaneously. Now, suppose you have collected several such combinations where each has samples from 32 to 64 individuals. In a rare case, a group emerges with an infected case. When such a group emerges, tests can be carried out on individual patients to find out the one infected with Covid-19. According to Professor Roy Kishony, head of the research group in the Faculty of Biology at Technion, even if there is just one case in the cluster that is positive, the test will identify it. So, rather than examining samples from individual patients examining samples jointly makes it easier to carry out tests on a faster scale. Prof Roy Kishony added that it was not a breakthrough innovation but just a demonstration of how existing methods and equipment could be used to carry out many more tests each day.

In another post published today, Jerusalem Post wrote that an Israeli Pharmaceutical giant named Teva had announced to donate more than six million doses of hydroxychloroquine sulfate tablets through wholesalers to hospitals across the United States, starting March 31. It is expected that the company will ship more than 10 million tablets within a month. The US Food and Drug Administration has approved these tablets for the treatment of malaria, lupus erythematosus, and rheumatoid arthritis. After learning about the potential benefit of hydroxychloroquine, Teva had begun the assessment of its supply and started acquiring additional ingredients to produce more of the product. Simultaneously, the company is reviewing its other products too to learn if any can be used against Coronavirus. The US is also facing a shortage of medicine supply. It has mostly remained dependent on China for crucial medical suppliers but now apart from ramping up domestic production, the US also needs additional aid to fight Corona. China itself was the epicenter of the Coronavirus outbreak and closing of factories and transportation restrictions have disrupted the medical supply chain reported NewYork Times.

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