Sherlock: the Test That Detects the Variants Of COVID-19

Sherlock Is the Most Effective Diagnostic Method For Coronavirus.

Sherlock Device to Pass COVID-19

The Sherlock test turns out to be the most effective method to detect the presence of any variant, at low cost and in the shortest time. Photo: TW-wyssinstitute

LatinAmerican Post | Brandon Martínez Salazar

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Leer en español: Sherlock: la prueba que detecta la variantes de COVID-19

After more than a year of the COVID-19 pandemic, humans and science have been the epicenter of significant advances in research to combat the new coronavirus and reduce the death toll.

Undoubtedly, the creation of different types of vaccines has helped the crisis diminish and it was a challenge for the scientific communities to find the antidote that will allow us to return to normal. 

Also read: Antibodies to SARS-CoV-2 Remain Stable, or Even Increase, Seven Months After Infection

On the other hand, there have also been advances in different aspects related to SARS-COvS-2 such as studies, methods of action, prevention, and detection. In the beginning, the health institutions of each country had to assume a great responsibility, which consisted of detecting positive patients for COVID-19, isolating them, and cutting the chain of contagion. Likewise, processing thousands of tests daily not only consumed resources but was also time-consuming. 

Fortunately, today we have different types of screening tests that allow health entities to give results in a short time and with greater precision. Of these, the Sherlock test turns out to be the most effective method to detect the presence of any variant, at low cost and in the shortest time.

How Sherlock Works

Researchers from the Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering at Harvard University, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), and several Boston-area hospitals succeeded in developing a diagnostic device they have called the MINIMALLY INSTRUMENTED SHERLOCK (miSHERLOCK). This device promises to be the best coronavirus detection method, because, although it is cheap, its technology is based on the CRISPR method, a genetic tool that manages to detect multiple variants only by taking saliva as a sample.

Considering the threat the Delta variant represents, Sherlock is a novel advance because the sample is taken from home and the results are subsequently provided through a smart application within an hour.

This device only needs a 3D printer to be designed. It is composed of a single element, by the saliva container and the SHERLOCK reaction (two chemical substances: DTT and EGTA), powered by two batteries and two chambers: one for preparing the heated sample and the other where the chemical reaction takes place. Thus Sherlock offers an effectiveness rate in the detection of 96% in positive cases and 95% in negative cases.

"By combining cutting-edge biotechnology with inexpensive materials, this team has created a powerful diagnostic device that can be manufactured and used locally by people without advanced medical degrees. It is a perfect example of the mission in action of the Wyss Institute. – Putting life-changing innovations in the hands of the people who need them, "said Wyss Founding Director Mr. Ingber, MD, Ph.D.

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