This weekend the New Zealand Government and Air New Zealand announced a partnership to trial new COVID-19 tests based on LAMP technology (press release). LAMP stands for loop mediated amplification, it is a constant temperature method for rapid amplification of DNA. LAMP is as powerful as PCR but more robust and very fast. Compared to the COVID-19 RAT tests, molecular methods such as LAMP enable the detection of very low levels of pathogen in the early presymptomatic stages of infection. Isothermal methods such as LAMP are not confined to laboratories but the tests can be performed right where they are needed.
LAMP tests for COVID-19 are already utilised overseas, particularly in low resource settings where access to the standard PCR tests are difficult due to high cost, technical requirements and testing bottlenecks. Lab based PCR testing can take 24-72 hours before the test is even completed, and notification can take longer. Point-of-care LAMP tests can be done on site and have results within the hour, opening up testing to a wide range of settings. These setting do not just include biomedical applications but also environmental and agritech.
DNAiTECH has a number of innovations for point of care testing. We are supercharging LAMP for very rapid pathogen detection (10-20min), our portable instrument is smartphone integrated, we use the phone camera for LAMP reaction imaging and a specialized app for data analysis. Our point of care technology is for agritech, environmental and biomedical applications.