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Iowa State Research to Develop Home Test Kit for COVID-19

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AMES, Iowa — Iowa State University is the recipient of a one-year $55,000 grant from the COVID Project,which is supported by the Research Corporation for Scientific Advancement. The goal: develop a reliable COVID home test.

“As an assistant professor I’ve been focusing all my time until this point and doing high-quality science and publishing it in journals,” said Robbyn Anand, ISU Assistant Professor of Chemistry, and leader of this research team. “Suddenly we shifted gears to developing something that is immediately applicable to A real world problem.”

Anand has been working on another real-world problem, using electronic fields to separate cancer cells from healthy ones in kidneys, using wearable dialysis. Now a new challenge.

“We want something that you could use in your home and simple enough to give you those fresh results that would alert you to go see a physician,” said Anand. “So absolutely I am nervous about what it’s gonna be like when everybody trying to get their kids back to school in the fall and our goal is to get this test out quickly because we know that’s the key to letting everyone everyone live their lives without fear of spreading the virus.”

The research is a collaboration between scientists and students at ISU.

“The test works like a pregnancy test is in that the sample is flowed through a paper script with that format is not sensitive enough to detect the virus<” said Anand. “We give it a little bit of a boost using electric field-based methods so we have to apply a voltage to the strip.”

The sample can be saliva, or urine. Anand said that companies have been contacting her regarding mass production of the test kit, once the research has proven the test reliable.

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