University of Arizona revolutionizing COVID-19 testing

Updated: Aug. 4, 2020 at 7:12 PM MST
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TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - Corona virus testing delays have been an issue across Arizona, at times in Pima County it could take up to two weeks for a patient to get results. But, the University of Arizona is working on testing technology that could revolutionize testing.

“We’re not trying to eliminate other testing methods by any means we just want to introduce a new technology,” said Sanja Dmitrovic a graduate research assistant. “There’s just this sense of urgency... but were hoping that this is a cheaper faster alternative.”

Dmitrovic has been working on this project since January and says, right now the gold standard of COVID-19 testing is the PCR test, but that it can be lengthy in terms of receiving results.

“We’re developing a Raman spectrometer that’s composed of three parts: a light source, a sample and a camera,” said Dmitrovic.

Dmitrovic says the virus is very small making it hard to detect with conventional methods.

The researchers would gather either a saliva or nasal swab sample from a patient, place that sample into a holder and then put the holder into the Raman box. They then turn on the light and that light hits the sample.

Dmitrivic uses software on her computer to see how the light behaves toward the given sample- which indicates if a patient has COVID-19 or not.

“Technology is increasingly important,” said Dmitrovic. “I want to do work that’s not just important to myself but other people, you want to do your best for the community.”

Dmitrovic says they are still in the research phase and no have a concrete plan as to when the device would be ready to roll commercially.

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