A new DNA test kit paired with a smartphone could be used to diagnose COVID-19 in less than two hours, scientists say.
& # 39; POCKET & # 39; (point of care kit for the heat test) identifies changes in DNA that signal disease in real time from samples of blood, urine or saliva.
It contains two components – a 3D-printed integrated chip, like an i-chip, and a box that does not contain a smartphone, which is used as a heater, signal detector and result readout.
The ultra-portable POCKET kit, which costs less than $ 10 to make, fits in a small plastic bag like a normal envelope.
Weighing about 3 ounces and measuring less than 10 inches long, the tool could be essential in the war against future pandemics, Chinese researchers claim.
POCKET can also be used to perform point-of-care (POC) DNA testing for agriculture, environmental protection and food security.
The 3D-printed integrated chip, like i-chip, which is one component of the POCKET device. The i-chip is designed to be smaller than one fingertip. i-chip, which is only 4g in weight, integrates two units: a 3D printed sample preparation unit and a microfluidic signal amplification unit
& # 39; This inexpensive, ultra-portable POCKET platform can become a versatile sample-to-response platform for clinical diagnostics, food security, agricultural protection and environmental control, & # 39; said correspondent author Dr Ming Chen, of & # 39; Army Medical University in Chongqing, China.
'We have discovered different types of DNA from clinics to environment to food to agriculture.
'The system could potentially be used for rapid detection and tracking of infectious diseases such as COVID-19.
'The detection is sensitive, specific and fast – less than two hours. It is also stable, with a shelf life of more than 10 weeks. & # 39;
Earlier attempts to make similar POC systems have been hampered by the need to use large equipment such as centrifuges.
The & # 39; ultraportable & versatile & # 39; system consists of an i-chip and f-box, which is stored in a B5-sized plastic pocket – slightly smaller than A4
POCKET, in the meantime, is cheap and mobile, dispensing with the voluminous laboratory equipment that is normally required for POC tests.
Viral or bacterial DNA is often found only in small amounts, so it must be purified and replicated many times in a process called amplification.
This requires heating the sample to exact temperatures in addition to specific chemicals.
It has also been difficult to detect DNA in a variety of types of samples such as blood, urine, plant material, river water or food.
POCKET gets around these obstacles with the help of small, light, easily fabricated parts and special reagents with the help of a smartphone.
The i-chip uses the heat that isn't generated by the smartphone's processor. In order to find viral or bacterial DNA often only in small amounts, scientists have to purify and replicate the DNA many times in a process called amplification, which should increase the sample to precise temperatures in addition to specific reagents. .
The kit uses the heat of a phone's processor to heat a sample to a target temperature when reagents, as chemicals, trigger reactions.
If DNA of interest is present, these will create visual signals such as light or color that are seen with the camera of the smartphone.
POCKET detects different types of DNA from blood, mucus and urine to foods such as milk, river water and plant leaves.
Smartphones are one of & # 39; s most convenient, user-friendly and powerful interfaces for detecting healthcare settings in resource-limited settings.
This means that the ultra-portable POCKET kit, which does not fit in a plastic bag smaller than a sheet of A4 paper, could greatly benefit developing countries.
Thanks to the & # 39; s Internet connection of a smartphone, POCKET can also locate and track the distribution of disease in real time.
The smartphone in its foldable F-box. If DNA of interest is present in & # 39; i-chip visual signals – such as light or color – are determined by the camera lens of & # 39; a smartphone and displayed on the screen
& # 39; Based on & # 39; With built-in wireless communication and geolocation capabilities, our POCKET platform enables real-time distribution of & # 39; s disease, & # 39; said Dr Chen.
'Furthermore, the POCKET platform can serve as the Internet of Medical Things (IoMT) in DNA analysis to send test results on the site to the centralized hospital as public health officials.
& # 39; This would provide spatial-temporal disease maps for further research – in addition, end-users including patients can receive rapid feedback on disease control and prevention. & # 39;
POCKET, which also has the potential to detect other nucleic acids such as RNA, is further described in Science Advances.
WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN DNA AND RNA?
DNA – deoxyribonucleic acid – is widely known as the molecule found in the nucleus of all our cells that contains genetic information.
It is formed as a double helix and made of small sections called nucleotides.
Each nucleotide contains a nucleobase, a sugar, and a phosphate group.
The sugar component in this particular molecule is called deoxyribose and forms the D in DNA.
This is a carbon-based cyclic mixture with five carbon atoms regulated as a phentagon.
To the second carbon atom, there is an added single hydrogen atom in deoxyribose.
This may also have added extra oxygen.
In this case, the oxygenated chemical then forms what is commonly known as ribose – the R in RNA.
They deoxy prefix literally means without oxygen.
Form of RNA and DNA
RIbose can do almost anything that can deoxyribose and also code for genetic information in some cells and organisms.
When oxygen is present, it drastically changes how the chemicals bind and sit next to other molecules.
When oxygen is present – in RNA – it can take a variety of forms.
When oxygen is not present at this specific location – in DNA – the molecule forms as the iconic double helix.
Use of RNA
DNA is often subdivided into RNA and read by the cells to translate and transcribe the genetic code to make proteins and other molecules essential for life.
RNA uses three of the same base pairs as DNA: Cytosine, Guanine, Adenine.
The base pair, Thymine, is converted into RNA for Uracil.
RNA is also often found in simpler organisms, such as bacteria.
It is also often a virus, with hepatitis, flu and HIV all forms of RNA.
All animal cells use DNA, with one notable exception: the mitochondria.
Mitochondria are the forces of the cell and convert glucose into pyruvate and then into adenosine triphosphate (ATP) through the Krebs cycle.
This process is all done in this one organelle in cells and ATP is the universal form of energy and used in all aerobic organisms.
In mitochondria, there is a small strand of RNA that is unique in & # 39; an animal kingdom.
It is transmitted exclusively from the mother (the father lives in the semen, but is dissolved during fertilization) and allows people to trace their mother tongue through time.
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