Did you know that swabs taken from your phone screen, instead of your nose or throat, can deliver Covid-19 virus detection accuracy levels akin to the invasive swabs? That's exactly what a team from Diagnosis Biotech successfully pulled off
, calling it - surprise, surprise - the Phone Screen Testing (PoST) method.
Established by Dr Rodrigo Young from the UCL Institute of Ophthalmology, the folks from Diagnosis Biotech
recognized that people who test positive on the gold standard PCR test, also tested positive on their phone screen swab, too.
In fact, the Phone Screen Testing (PoST) method marked the presence of a virus on the screen more than 80% of the time which is similar to what the popular antigen lateral tests manage to pull off, but via throat and nose swabs. According to Dr Rodrigo Young:
Like many, I was very worried about the economic and social impact that the pandemic would leave behind, particularly in lower-income countries. We knew that the only effective way to stop the spreading is to regularly test as many people as possible, but this was not happening because it’s too expensive and uncomfortable.
We immediately knew this was something special, as PoST is a method that would not only make COVID-19 mass testing much easier but could also be used to contain outbreaks of new naturally occurring and man-made viruses, to avoid future pandemics.
Diagnosis Biotech has been applying this type of screenings at firms and schools in Chile to determine the method's viability, and is working on a mobile station that can get a phone for sampling and deliver the results to its owner via a text message to avoid the physical contact part.
A mass application and, ideally, home testing kits will hopefully not be far behind. On another note - can you vividly imagine the flora and fauna that lives on your phone's display already?