MSU Researcher Working on 10 Minute Covid Test

In the midst of a pandemic, every minute counts.

Decisions on how to provide treatment, whether to isolate, and how to ensure public safety rely on quick, accurate information.

That is why the test being developed by Michigan State University’s Brett Etchebarne, an assistant professor of emergency medicine at MSU College of Osteopathic Medicine is so exciting.

He believes it can deliver accurate results in 10 minutes and only requires a mouth swab, not the current nasal swab procedure, which hopefully will make it more comfortable for patients and ensure a better sample as it can be difficult to get an accurate sample from the nasal swab.

Etchebarne has a background in genomics and has already created similar rapid tests for pneumonia and the flu.

“I used what the CDC provided and made up my own primer sets, which are fragments of the target DNA or RNA that you can use to amplify a region of that genetic element,” Etchebarne said. From there, determining the test result is simple. “It’s either there, or it’s not there,” he added.

From MSU Today online article by Julia Malacoff

At this time, the test is currently going through the process of validation which includes testing in a Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendments Lab and then approval from the FDA, but it is possible that approval can be granted in several weeks-stay tuned to MSU Today for updates!

Questions for Discussion

  1. What is the definition of a pandemic, according to the World Health Organization?
  2. What are the benefits of rapid testing?
  3. What is genomics and why is that knowledge helpful to create this test?
  4. Describe Professor Etchebarne’s process for creating this test.
  5. What occurs at the Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendments Lab and what government agency oversees them?
  6. What does “validation” mean in the last paragraph?
  7. Using your prior knowledge, what does “FDA” stand for?

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