Rutgers’ new COVID-19 rapid test can identify variants

‘We know so little about COVID-19 even after a year of this pandemic and any additional information we can get can definitely save lives,’ said co-researcher Dr. David Alland

Researchers at Rutgers University have created a rapid COVID-19 test that can detect emerging coronavirus variants. Co-researcher Dr. David Alland says the test operates just like a regular COVID-19 PCR test, but instead of just detecting the presence of the virus, it will be able to identify a mutation.

Alland and his team are working to develop a second test that would make it easier to differentiate and identify variants from the United Kingdom, South Africa and Brazil.

“We need to know this to know whether we should be focusing on certain communities for prevention for more aggressive quarantines,” said Alland. “We need to understand this to see if we start seeing vaccine failures, is it a problem with the vaccine, is it a problem with the virus. And we don’t know any of these things yet.”

Researchers did not want license or patent issues to impede getting the test out quickly and are making it publicly available.

WATCH: Could ‘worrisome’ new COVID-19 variants undermine progress?

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