German University Invents Corona Turbo-Test

July 2021

A university medical clinic in the western German city of Bonn has come up with a coronavirus test, called LAMP-Seq, that is both ultrasensitive and scalable, so that thousands of samples can be analyzed simultaneously. That gives it a huge potential for use in companies, schools and kindergartens.

The new test is up to one hundred times as sensitive as antigen quick tests and works roughly as well as PCR tests. It can detect both the original strain of the SARS-Cov-2 virus as well as the Delta variant.

It combines an established procedure, known as loop-mediated isothermal amplification (LAMP), with DNA sequencing machines from biomedical research to perform what its inventors describe as “data barcoding.” Even smaller models of the sequencing machine used are capable of analyzing some 10,000 samples within ten to twelve hours.

“In order to effectively contain a pandemic, you have to identify infected people before they pass the disease to others,” said Medical Director and Chairman Prof. Wolfgang Holtgreve on the University of Bonn University Clinic (UKB) website. “To achieve this goal, we need mass screenings of the highest sensitivity to give us a detailed picture of existing chains of infection. This is precisely what the LAMP-Seq corona test developed at the UKB can do.”

The data backing up the UKB’s potentially groundbreaking invention has been published in the scientific journal Nature.

© Universitätsklinikum Bonn / F. Heyder