Dartmouth-Hitchcock researchers ‘encouraged’ by pilot Covid test results

CRISPR-based kit seen as a faster alternative to current protocols

Virus Coronavirus Covid 19Sherlock Biosciences, a Cambridge, Mass.-based engineering biology company has reported data from 20-sample pilot study conducted by a team at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center in Lebanon that is being used to evaluate the accuracy and performance of the Sherlock Covid-19 test kit.

“Results from this pilot study have demonstrated – in real patient samples – that our CRISPR-based diagnostic test accurately reports the presence or absence of” the Covid-19, said William J. Blake, chief technology officer at Sherlock Biosciences.  The test recently received Emergency Use Authorization from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration,

The test kit is the only CRISPR-based diagnostic test to receive that approval thus far.

Wahab Kahn, assistant director of the Laboratory for Clinical Genomics and Advanced Technology at Dartmouth-Hitchcock, said the team there is “encouraged” by the results.

“At a time when Covid-19 clinical diagnosis is in high demand – and often with limited resources – this approach highlights the value of mature, new technologies to provide valuable alternatives for the detection of not only Covid-19 but other emerging infectious diseases,” he said.

Because it uses the CRISPR family of DNA sequences, the test is designed to be a faster alternative to current testing protocols, according to Gregory J. Tsongalis, vice chair for research and director of the Laboratory for Clinical Genomics and Advanced Technology at D-H.

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