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Penn State Team Proposes At-Home Nucleic Acid-Based SARS-CoV-2 Testing Device

Pennsylvania State University researchers report on a low-cost, nucleic acid-based testing approach for detecting SARS-CoV-2 infections at home for a paper appearing in the journal ACS Sensors. The "saliva-based SARS-CoV-2 self-testing with reverse transcription loop-mediated isothermal amplification (RT-LAMP) mobile device," dubbed SLIDE, includes automated sample preparation, amplification, and viral detection steps that can be returned to users at home in less than one hour, the team says, noting that the approach appears to have detection levels similar to those reported for quantitative real-time PCR tests for SARS-CoV-2 that have been approved by agencies such as the US Food and Drug Administration. "The results show that our platform can perform self-administrated SARS-CoV-2 nucleic acid testing by laypersons with noninvasive saliva samples," the authors write. "We believe that our self-testing platform will have an ongoing benefit for COVID-19 control and fighting future pandemics."

The Scan

Machine Learning Helps ID Molecular Mechanisms of Pancreatic Islet Beta Cell Subtypes in Type 2 Diabetes

The approach helps overcome limitations of previous studies that had investigated the molecular mechanisms of pancreatic islet beta cells, the authors write in their Nature Genetics paper.

Culture-Based Methods, Shotgun Sequencing Reveal Transmission of Bifidobacterium Strains From Mothers to Infants

In a Nature Communications study, culture-based approaches along with shotgun sequencing give a better picture of the microbial strains transmitted from mothers to infants.

Microbial Communities Can Help Trees Adapt to Changing Climates

Tree seedlings that were inoculated with microbes from dry, warm, or cold sites could better survive drought, heat, and cold stress, according to a study in Science.

A Combination of Genetics and Environment Causes Cleft Lip

In a study published in Nature Communications, researchers investigate what combination of genetic and environmental factors come into play to cause cleft lip/palate.