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Current Affairs


Date: 30 November 2020 Tags: Biotechnology


Researchers have discovered new technology for detecting novel coronavirus which is known as RT-LAMP.



Since there is no vaccine or cure for the novel coronavirus infection till today, there is a strong need for rapid, specific, and sensitive SARS-CoV-2 detection technology to control and contain the virus.



  • The current method for SARS-CoV-2 diagnosis is the real time reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) test which detects the presence of viral nucleic acids in nasopharyngeal swab samples.

  • But it has certain shortcomings. The test requires complex and costly equipment. It requires extensive training for potential users.

  • The turnaround time is about 10 hours, so that the result will be available only by the next day. In remote places, the turnaround time further increases depending on the distance the samples need to travel. 

  • COVID-19 serology tests are also in use to detect antigens that are associated with the virus infection.

  • These tests are easy to use with rapid results, as well as have minimal expenses. However, serology immunoassay lacks the necessary accuracy to be a reliable diagnostic test due to its low sensitivity and high false negative/positive rates.

  • RT-LAMP (Reverse Transcriptase loop-mediated isothermal amplification) technology is a one-step nucleic acid amplification method to multiply specific sequences of RNA of the coronavirus.

  • Here, the RNA is first made into cDNA (copy DNA) by the usual reverse transcription. Then, the DNA is amplified by the LAMP technique.

  • Although the LAMP technique has been used in western countries for the past five years or more, the technique is new to the Indian IVD industry.


Advantages of RT-LAMP

  • The RT-PCR test needs different temperatures in one cycle. The temperature of the solution has to be changed from 92 degrees C to 56 degrees C and again to 72 degrees C every two minutes, and this cycle has to be repeated.

  • The new RT-LAMP technology is done at 65 degrees C, where the DNA amplification is done at a constant temperature (isothermal), so that expensive thermal cycler is not required.

  • The quantity of DNA amplified in the LAMP technology is hundred thousand times more than that is taking place in PCR. 

  • The assay is so fast that results can be obtained within 30 minutes and positive samples are amplified as early as 10 minutes.

  • Another advantage of LAMP is that the reagents are to be stored at 4 degree C (ordinary fridge), whereas the PCR-based reagents are to be stored and transported at –20 degrees C, which needs deep freezers that escalate the cost.

  • The LAMP technology does not need complex preparation as in the case of RT-PCR. LAMP is cost effective and does not need complex expensive equipment. Assays can be performed with minimum skill and minimum infrastructure.