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The US Food and Drug Administration has issued an Emergency Use Authorization for a CRISPR-based test for SARS-CoV-2, as GenomeWeb reports.

The test from Sherlock Biosciences relies on its Specific High-sensitivity Enzymatic Reporter unLOCKing platform, known as SHERLOCK. According to the firm, the platform works by programming CRISPR to detect a particular genetic signature, which, when found, leads the CRISPR enzyme to generate a signal the system then detects. For its new test kit, it recognizes a genetic signature from SARS-CoV-2 from nasal, nasopharyngeal, or oropharyngeal swab samples or from a bronchoalveolar lavage specimen.

As the Verge notes, this is the first time FDA has authorized a CRISPR-based tool, and it notes that the tool may enable rapid testing. GenomeWeb adds that the Sherlock CRISPR SARS-CoV-2 kit is supposed to provide results in about an hour.

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