Researchers at Unicamp are developing a rapid test for Covid-19, capable of confirming the infection in five minutes, up to 50% cheaper than the options available on the market and more complete. Expected to be available in May, it is prepared in partnership with USP, including the scientists who did the genetic sequencing of the new coronavirus.Professor Rodrigo Ramos Catharino, from the Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences at the State University of Campinas (SP), explains that it was necessary to make a kind of “fingerprint” of the new coronavirus to create the test.
“We can call this a fingerprint, and this design has a clear fingerprint of the molecules that exist in the disease in relation to Covid-19, and this is what we detect and determine to be Covid-19”, he explains.
From the information collected, scientists use an artificial intelligence program to locate these biomarkers that identify the presence of Covid-19. The researchers took advantage and inserted other biomarkers in the database, such as H1N1, which facilitates diagnosis for medical treatment.
New test under development at Unicamp works with biomarkers, which indicate whether the patient has Covid-19 – Photo: Ricardo Custódio / EPTV
According to Catharino, there is a lack of approval from the Ethics Committee so that tests can be performed on humans and the expectation is that it will be available for use in mid-May.
According to the researchers, the new test, 100% national, should cost around R $ 40, half the value of the product on the market – currently, all are imported.
The scientists warn that as soon as it is ready, the test technology can be used in other cities throughout Brazil.
“It is possible to carry out a greater number of tests with this same technology, including SUS,” adds Catharino.