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Why Scientists Are Testing Smartphones For Signs of The Coronavirus

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Smartphone Coronavirus

The Coronavirus seems to be taking its time to be done with us with new variants popping up every now and then. Well, scientists are ‘evolving’ too and are now testing smartphones for signs of the coronavirus.

Testing Smartphones For The Coronavirus

According to the Indian Expressscientists have developed a novel method for coronavirus testing. It entails swabbing your smartphone screen rather than your nose or throat. In comparison to regular PCR testing, the Phone Screen Testing (PoST) method is non-invasive, costs less, and is equally accurate.

They note that if a person is infected with SARS-CoV-2, these droplets will carry the virus. Therefore, they hypothesize that Covid-19 contagious individuals will regularly deposit aerosols, droplets of saliva over the screen of their phone.

The test involves collecting samples from the phone screen with regular swabs. The same ones they like use for nasopharyngeal sampling. They embed them in a saline water solution and then subject them to a regular PCR like for clinical samples.

Of the 540 individuals they tested, 51 tested positive for SARS-CoV-2 in RT-PCR done on nasal/throat swab samples. The overall ability of PoST to correctly identify a negative case (specificity) is 98.8% accurate.

The scientists note that a machine is currently under development by Diagnosis Biotech, Dr Young’s start-up. The machine will build on this research, taking a phone for PoST sampling. It will then deliver the results directly via SMS to minimize contact.

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