- New non-invasive and low-cost method of testing for Covid-19 developed
- Phone Screen Testing (PoST) helps detect Covid-19 on mobile screens
- PoST makes Covid-19 mass testing much easier & helps contain future outbreaks as well
New test called Phone Screen Testing (PoST) has been developed to detect Covid-19 on mobile phone screens. It is an accurate, non-invasive, and low-cost method of testing for Covid-19.
The team led by University College London researchers analyzed swabs from smartphone screens rather than directly from people, and found that people who tested positive by the regular nasal swabbing PCRs were also positive when samples were taken from phone screens.
The new method -- known as Phone Screen Testing (PoST) -- detected the Covid-19 virus on the phones of 81 to 100 percent of contagious people with a high viral load, suggesting it is as accurate as antigen lateral flow tests.
In addition, PoST sampling takes less than a minute and does not require medical personnel, which eases mass adoption in big facilities and large-scale applications, the researchers said. The findings are published in the journal eLife.
"Like many, I was very worried about the economic and social impact that the pandemic would leave behind, particularly in lower-income countries. We knew that the only effective way to stop the spreading is to regularly test as many people as possible, but this was not happening because it's too expensive and uncomfortable," said Rodrigo Young from the UCL Institute of Ophthalmology, who led the research at Diagnosis Biotech, a Chilean startup.
"We immediately knew this was something special, as PoST is a method that would not only make Covid-19 mass testing much easier but could also be used to contain outbreaks of new naturally occurring and man-made viruses, to avoid future pandemics," he added.