Since the arrival of covid-19 – a disease caused by the new coronavirus (Sars-CoV-2) – in Brazil, the country has only performed 482,743 molecular tests for the infection. The figure represents 2% of the 24 million tests that the federal government promised to face the pandemic.
For comparison, in Wuhan, China, where the disease originated, the government ordered an additional 11 million tests this week after less than 20 new confirmations from patients with covid-19.
In São Carlos, in the interior of São Paulo, researchers at UFSCar (Federal University of São Carlos) are developing a differentiated rapid test for the diagnosis of the new coronavirus. The device uses an electrochemical sensor to detect virus genome sequences in a patient’s saliva sample.
“Our goal is to develop a simple and low-cost methodology for the diagnosis of covid-19. The disposable test platform will make use of easily accessible materials and simple equipment and will also allow the analysis of different samples simultaneously ”, says researcher Ronaldo Censi Faria.
According to him, the device has four sensor regions that will be programmed to identify pieces of the virus’s RNA. A reaction between the sensor and this RNA causes the emission of light, which would indicate infection by the coronavirus. The project is supported by Fapesp (São Paulo State Research Support Foundation).