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Device that detects SARS CoV-2 in saliva

Date: 10 August 2021 Tags: Miscellaneous


A tabletop device has been prepared by engineers at MIT and Harvard University to detect SARS-CoV-2 from a saliva sample.



The further studies carried out using this device showed that it has accuracy as same as PCR tests.



  • Specific viral mutations that are currently circulating can be detected using this device. The device works on CRISPR technology.

  • The current cost of the device is about $15 but can be reduced significantly if produced on a large scale.

  • The SHERLOCK, a CRISPR-based tool is behind working of the device. The first step will be to neutralize saliva, as it can destroy RNA material.

  • The salivary nuclease is inactivated by heating after the sample goes into the device. Chemical reagents are added to the sample.

  • The RNA of virus is then extracted and passed through a sort of membrane to increase its concentration.

  • The RNA sample is amplified by exposing it to freeze-dried CRISPR/Cas components. It ensures that target RNA sequence is detected.


The device

The device has four modules. The first module will try to identify the original SARS CoV-2 virus sample. The other three will try to find the mutated versions.


CRISPR technology

  • CRISPR is a tool for editing genomes. It stands for Clusters of Regularly Interspaced Short Palindromic Repeats.

  • The tool will help in identifying the correct nucleotide sequence that can be cut using bio-enzyme cas-9. The cut part can be edited into another genome.

  • The tool is very important part of genetic engineering. The tool has made production of GM organisms and crops that have helped humans.

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