Health Team

COVID-19 test strip takes advantage of virus' 'sweet tooth'

Posted December 15, 2021 4:53 p.m. EST
Updated December 15, 2021 5:11 p.m. EST

— Researchers at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill are using a sugar-coated test strip to track coronavirus variants.

Alongside researchers at the University of California San Diego, UNC-Chapel Hill researchers have created the self-test known as GlycoGrip.

"We have turned the tables on the virus by using the same sugar coat it binds to infect cells - to capture it into our sensor," UNC-Chapel Hill research Ronit Freeman said in a press release.

A drop of saliva is placed at one end of the strip, according to researchers, and then flows along the strip's surface. When the saliva reaches a sugar-coated patch, if someone is infected with coronavirus, the virus will become trapped on the patch.

A visual color on the test strip will indicate infection, researchers said.

"We tapped into nature to re-imagine viral diagnostics," said Freeman.

Researchers said while others tests have had to be modified for new COVID-19 variants, the GlycoGrip test can be used for universal testing.

"We are optimistic that GlycoGrip will capture future variants just as easily," said Freeman.

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