Researchers break down the COVID-19 diagnostic arsenal

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Credit: Prasesh Shiwakoti (Lomash) to Unsplash

Clinical research on COVID-19 has grown in the 18 months following the onset of the disease. Countless articles have analyzed the subject from almost every possible angle, including detection methods.

For a new article published in the journal Clinical Microbiology Reviews, a team of researchers led by Concordia engineers examined hundreds of papers on COVID-19 detection tools and technologies. They wanted to classify and understand what is there, what is missing and what can be improved. The result is a thorough assessment of the field citing nearly 600 separate articles covering an extensive literature.

“The rise of publications and new technologies in a very short time made it difficult to track anyone interested in the subject,” says the study’s lead researcher and lead author Hamid Tali, a Ph.D. student of the Department of Chemical and Materials Engineering.

“Our study analyzes the performance characteristics of these technologies, their challenges and shortcomings in our current knowledge and future directions. We describe the lessons learned throughout the pandemic on the diagnosis of this virus, which will be useful in the case of a future pandemic. “

The authors believe that the paper provides a rich one-stop resource for people interested in the subject, including experts in clinical microbiology and non-experts who want to know more about different methods.

“Doing such a comprehensive review on this giant topic in one place is of great value, as it will significantly save researchers time. It will help them understand the most advanced technologies in this area as quickly as possible. Inspired and guided by current challenges. and they better define their research goals, ”Tali adds.

Sana Anbuhi, assistant professor of chemical and materials engineering, is the lead author of the paper. She and Jason LeBlanc of Dalhousie University are the corresponding authors. Zubi Sadiq and Oyejide Oyewunmi of Concordia and Carolina Camargo, Bahareh Nikpour, Narges Armanfard and Selena Sagan of McGill University are co-authors.

THE INSURED is the goal

The authors point out that the explosion of detection techniques and tools — some of questionable quality — stemmed from the need to expand testing rapidly while supply chains were disrupted by the global spread of the virus. Some techniques are more accurate; others are more affordable. Some require sophisticated laboratory equipment; others do not.

The World Health Organization’s INSURED criteria recognized internationally for point-of-care diagnostic devices helped them evaluate the different tests used. The acronyms mean affordable, responsive, specific, easy to use, fast and robust, free of equipment and deliverable to end users. This helped researchers determine the strengths and weaknesses of existing diagnostic tools.

“Some sensors are sensitive and specific, meaning they detect the presence of COVID-19, but they are not easy to use and do not require bulky machinery and highly trained people to operate it,” Anbuhi explains. She says the most effective tools used now are nucleic acid amplification tests, which are highly effective in detecting ribonucleic acid (RNA).

Health engineers

Researchers hope that identifying current weaknesses in our diagnostic tools will help avoid the need for drastic measures such as blockages and shut down the economy when the next pandemic appears.

“We hope this will help researchers towards an ideal device that anyone can use and anywhere at a very low cost,” says Tali.

Finally, the authors note that engineers rarely publish an article in a journal for clinical microbiologists.

“The diagnosis of COVID-19 is an interdisciplinary topic. Therefore, writing a full review required the collaboration of four different research groups, each with their own area of ​​expertise.”



More information:
Seyed Hamid Safiabadi Tali et al, Tools and Techniques for Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) / Detection COVID-19, Clinical microbiology reviews (2021). DOI: 10.1128 / CMR.00228-20

Citation: Researchers break down COVID-19 diagnostic arsenal (2021, June 16) retrieved June 17, 2021 from https://medicalxpress.com/news/2021-06-covid-diagnostic-arsenal.html

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