A research initiative carried out researchers at Peter Doherty Institute for Infection and Immunity and Monash University has resulted into a proof of concept for infrared light technology to confirm infection of SARS-CoV-2.
The research is published in Angewandte Chemie.
Elaborately, the report on the new diagnostic approach involves the use of a portable infrared instrument to detect SARS-CoV-2 virus in saliva.
The team discovered a signature of the infectious agent in the infrared spectra of saliva large in 27 out of 29 the individuals infected with SARS-CoV-2 presented at the Royal Melbourne Hospitals with COVID-19 symptoms.
Meanwhile, among a few, the most significant advantage of infrared-based technology on saliva samples include speed and ease of the test, affordability, and reduced risk to both patients and healthcare workers.
The research yet preliminary is very encouraging, and they are keen to see further testing with a larger patient pool to better understand the specificity of the approach, say scientists. To undertake the study, a portable infrared spectrometer modified to enable high throughput screening. This enables the samples to be scanned rapidly in a contactless mode without requiring to clean the instrument between measurements.
The technique could be capable to screen 5000 samples per day per instrument, thereby enabling each sample to be ready in five minutes.
Since infrared light interacted with vibrations of molecules, it could be used to generate a spectrum that represents a unique chemical fingerprint of the sample that was processed using machine learning algorithms.
Importantly, the approach has a number of advantages over Real Time Reverse Transcription polymerase Chain Reaction – the gold standard to detect SARS-CoV-2 of COVID-19.