CRISPR-ing Coronavirus Tests

You’ve read about CRISPR technology before in a previous newsletter, so you know that it’s mainly used as a gene-editing tool. This highly specific method allows researchers to harness the adaptive immune system of bacteria. The applications so far have been focused on cancer research and antibiotic resistance. However, with the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic, researchers are using CRISPR technology to create cheap and easy-to-use testing kits.

Testing Isn’t Just A Swab

A coronavirus test isn’t the most fun experience. Those who’ve been tested know that it involves a cotton swab tickling your brain. But that’s just the beginning! The swabs have to be sent to a special lab and the entire process requires high-end materials and machinery. This is why countries that were prepared for the pandemic had all the supplies necessary to carry out mass testing. As a result, they were able to stop the spread of the virus.

How to Play Catch-Up

Everyone else who didn’t anticipate or expect the highly contagious nature of this virus is now playing catch-up. Researchers pulled out every tool in their toolkit to figure out a way to make testing faster, cheaper, and more reliable. And in the world of DNA, genomes, and genes, nothing is more reliable than CRISPR. By targeting specific viral sequences or gene expressions in infected cells, researchers have developed a 3-step test that can be conducted in one place. No more shipping swabs to labs, no more waiting 4-5 days for your results.

As Easy As 1, 2, 3

This simple test involves opening up the virus to expose its genetic material, targeting a specific gene sequence, and using a dip strip to see results. All total, this test uses 2 tubes and is highly accurate. This means no more false positives and better, more reliable COVID-19 statistics. The hope is that the FDA would approve one or all of these easier testing methods and eventually, there might even be home tests that people can purchase. Also, some versions of this CRISPR test use spit instead of brain-tickling to get a sample. Victory!

CRISPR Technology Gets Another Notch on Its Belt

Celebrate the still-growing uses of CRISPR technology with our CRISPR collection. We offer this necklace in both silver and 18K gold-plated. And if you know someone working hard in a lab during this pandemic, using everything they have to better protect us on the testing end… well, now here’s another gift option! 

written by Science with Evie 


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