RT-LAMP Testing Technology | UPSC
RT-LAMP: a new technology for detecting COVID-19
WHY IN NEWS:
Since there is no vaccine or cure till today, there is a strong need for detection technology to control and contain the virus.
SYLLABUS COVERED: GS 3: Science and Technology : Health : Vaccine
- Speed, simplicity and cost-effectiveness make this an ideal method for diagnosis.
- The novel coronavirus, SARS-CoV-2, causes the Coronavirus disease-2019 (COVID-19) and this pandemic.
- The current method for SARS-CoV-2 diagnosis is the real time reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) test .
- The test requires complex and costly equipment.
- It requires extensive training for potential users.
- The turnaround time is about 10 hours, so that the result will be available only by the next day.
- In remote places, the turnaround time further increases depending on the distance the samples need to travel.
- In short, the RT-PCR does not have the capacity to keep pace with the increasing demand.
COVID-19 SEROLOGY TESTS
- COVID-19 serology tests are also in use to detect antigens that are associated with the virus infection.
- These tests are easy to use with rapid results, as well as have minimal expenses.
- It has low sensitivity and high false negative/positive rates.
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- With the above-mentioned status of COVID-19 detection ambiguity, there is an urgent need for a better technique for COVID-19 testing.
- This is a one-step nucleic acid amplification method to multiply specific sequences of RNA of the coronavirus.
- Then, the DNA is amplified by the LAMP technique.
- Although the LAMP technique has been used in western countries for the past five years or more, the technique is new to the Indian IVD industry.
- The LAMP technology has many advantages over RT-PCR technology.
- The RT-PCR test needs different temperatures in one cycle.
- The temperature of the solution has to be changed from 92 degrees C to 56 degrees C ; and this cycle has to be repeated.
- On the other hand, the new RT-LAMP technology is done at 65 degrees C.
- Where the DNA amplification is done at a constant temperature (isothermal), so that expensive thermal cycler is not required.
- Therefore the final assay is possible with a simple colour reaction, removing the need for very costly real time PCR machines.
- An equally important advantage of the LAMP technology is that the assay is so fast that results can be obtained within 30 minutes.
- This may be compared with the PCR technique which needs 8–10 hours for completion.
- This means that COVID-19 testing centres can report with accuracy in substantially lower turnover time.
- The PCR-based reagents are to be stored and transported at –20 degrees C, which needs deep freezers that escalate the cost.
- The LAMP technology does not need laborious preparation as in the case of RT-PCR.
- LAMP is cost effective and does not need complex expensive equipment.
- Assays can be performed with minimum skill and minimum infrastructure.
- The LAMP technology has been recently validated by the Indian Council of Medical Research with sensitivity 98.7% and specificity 100%.
- Thus the LAMP technology is superior to the PCR technology–based COVID-19 kits where specificity is around 95% only.
- Agappe Diagnostics have recently developed the LAMP technology indigenously, and their kit has been validated and approved by the ICMR for marketing.
- A confirmatory, accurate, rapid, low-cost, and user-friendly molecular diagnostic method is the prerequisite to address COVID-19 pandemic.
- The RT-LAMP technology is ideal for Indian conditions.
- This is possible with RT-LAMP technology which shows great promise as a detection tool.
- The procedure’s speed, simplicity and cost-effectiveness allow it to be the ideal method for diagnosing the infection.
SOURCES: THE HINDU | RT-LAMP Testing Technology | UPSC