MSU student develops new COVID test that could reduce time, cost

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EAST LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) – A Michigan State University student helped develop a faster and more efficient way to test for Covid-19.

The new system has completed real-life testing and the study was just published this month.

Medical student Zach Morehouse and his partners in a biotech company from Georgia saw a need for cheaper and quicker testing.

They say this new method should make it easier to get people results in places that would usually be out of reach.

“A lot of late nights and early mornings to coordinate, and keeping it rolling while I was doing rotations and he was teaching the course,” said Morehouse

Morehouse remembers the tiring work of coordinating with team members around the country and world to get a more practical Covid-19 test into the rural communities around the world.

He and Chief Science Officer at Omni international, Dr. Rodney Nash, have been working on this project since March of last year.

It was inspired by areas that lack money or the proper medical technology to run other tests.

“You’re looking at an environment where they do not have the resources to, to purchase such equipment to, even be considered for purchasing this equipment,” said Nash.

The new protocol for testing essentially shakes apart the virus sample to examine the genetic material with a PCR machine.

Morehouse says this cuts out multiple chemical washes and steps needed before sending samples through the machine like in a traditional covid test.

Patients still have to swab their nose but there’s a shorter wait time on results.

“When you start taking steps like that out, you start reducing cost, you start improving the time it takes, you know, reducing the time it takes to go through the whole test. And so our whole goal was finding a test that could be set up quickly, that could be done quickly and not break the bank doing it, for the footprint size of a table you know you would set up tailgating, we can set up our covid testing lab,” said Morehouse.

Morehouse says that there’s still a long way to go before this test is fully approved and being used in those remote areas, but he says once it gets the go-ahead this same technique can be used to test for other illnesses like malaria as well.

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