|
|
|
|
Search: 
Latin American Herald Tribune
Venezuela Overview
Venezuelan Embassies & Consulates Around The World
Sites/Blogs about Venezuela
Venezuelan Newspapers
Facts about Venezuela
Venezuela Tourism
Embassies in Caracas

Colombia Overview
Colombian Embassies & Consulates Around the World
Government Links
Embassies in Bogota
Media
Sites/Blogs about Colombia
Educational Institutions

Stocks

Commodities
Crude Oil
US Gasoline Prices
Natural Gas
Gold
Silver
Copper

Euro
UK Pound
Australia Dollar
Canada Dollar
Brazil Real
Mexico Peso
India Rupee

Antigua & Barbuda
Aruba
Barbados
Cayman Islands
Cuba
Curacao
Dominica

Grenada
Haiti
Jamaica
Saint Kitts and Nevis
Saint Lucia
Saint Vincent and the Grenadines

Belize
Costa Rica
El Salvador
Honduras
Nicaragua
Panama

Bahamas
Bermuda
Mexico

Argentina
Brazil
Chile
Guyana
Paraguay
Peru
Uruguay

What's New at LAHT?
Follow Us On Facebook
Follow Us On Twitter
Most Viewed on the Web
Popular on Twitter
Receive Our Daily Headlines


  HOME | Central America

Costa Rican Scientists Developing Rapid COVID-19 Saliva Test



SAN JOSE – Costa Rican scientists are developing a rapid molecular saliva-based test for COVID-19 that promises to give that Central American country a certain degree of autonomy and allow it to conduct mass contact tracing.

A score of experts from three public higher-learning institutions – University of Costa Rica (UCR), Technological of Costa Rica (TEC) and National University of Costa Rica (UNA) – have finalized the first prototype of saliva tests for the rapid diagnosis of the SARS-CoV-2 virus in symptomatic and asymptomatic patients.

“It’s rapid because it takes one hour, it’s low-cost (between $15 and $20), sophisticated equipment isn’t needed to amplify the genetic material. And that would put Costa Rica in an advantageous situation because it would allow it to epidemiologically trace (the spread of) the virus on a mass scale,” the project’s coordinator, UCR biology professor Andres Gatica, said in an interview with EFE.

The RT-LAMP test, known in Costa Rica as tiCOVID-19 (Costa Ricans are affectionately known as “ticos”), complements the most widely deployed RT-PCR test (a molecular test that detects the virus’ genetic material) and reduces the risk of infection among health workers because samples can be self-collected and no special means of transportation are required.

Alejandro Bolivar, a researcher at UCR’s Pharmacy School, said the saliva sample is collected in a vial and heated to 95 degrees Celsius (203 degrees Fahrenheit) to amplify possible traces of the virus. This allows the test result to be obtained without the need for molecular biology laboratories or other specialized equipment.

Through the testing process, the sample undergoes a color change and will turn yellow if the virus is present and red if the result is negative.

The Costa Rican saliva test still must undergo a human trial phase to measure its effectiveness, a process that will require permits from that country’s Committee on Scientific Ethics.

“With the in vitro tests we’ve performed, we have 94 percent specificity (the proportion of negatives that are correctly identified) and 100 percent sensitivity (the proportion of positives that are correctly identified), figures that are quite positive, very comparable to real-time PCR and far superior to the antigen test that detects proteins and antibodies if a person became ill and developed defenses,” Gatica said.

Saliva tests are already in use globally to detect the presence of the coronavirus, some of which have been approved by the United States Food and Drug Administration.

Costa Rica and several regional countries such as El Salvador, Guatemala and the Dominican Republic are now working together to develop the technical and scientific capacities needed to make this test a reality.

“They (the other countries) have an advantage that we don’t have. They can already work with saliva tests on patients. We still don’t have the permits,” Gatica said.

Costa Rica, a country home to 5 million inhabitants, has registered 191,345 confirmed coronavirus cases and 2,567 deaths attributed to COVID-19 since the start of the pandemic, numbers that yield a case fatality rate of approximately 1.3 percent.

 

Enter your email address to subscribe to free headlines (and great cartoons so every email has a happy ending!) from the Latin American Herald Tribune:

 

Copyright Latin American Herald Tribune - 2005-2021 © All rights reserved