Exeter Professor is developing a test to determine if patients are still infectious with COVID-19
A University of Exeter Professor has been awarded £52,000 to develop a test that could determine whether an individual is still infectious with coronavirus. Professor Lorna Harries is using funding from Animal Free Research UK to design a test showing a patient’s viral load, the amount of virus that is active in the body.
Currently, tests cannot distinguish between active and inactive forms of COVID-19. However, the new test could mean those who are working in front line roles are able to return to their roles more quickly and help ease the transition of patients from hospital to care homes.
“It would be incredibly useful in helping people safely to return to frontline duties, or patients return to care homes.”Professor Harries, leader of the Animal Free Research UK animal Replacement Centre of Excellence (ARC 2.0) at the University of Exeter
The test, which could later be combined with mathematical modeling to determine the risk of ill health due to COVID-19, determines if the sub-genomic RNA – genetic material is present, this is only present when patients are possibly infectious.
The research group is hoping that this test could provide a personalised approach to testing.
Editor: Elen Johnston