A versatile integrated tube for rapid and visual SARS-CoV-2 detection


The COVID-19 pandemic is a global outbreak of the respiratory illness caused by the novel coronavirus SARS-CoV-2. The virus was first identified in Wuhan, China in late 2019 and has since spread rapidly to become a global health crisis. COVID-19 is highly infectious and can spread easily from person to person through respiratory droplets when an infected person coughs, sneezes, talks, or breathes. The COVID-19 pandemic has had a significant impact on individuals, communities, and economies worldwide. Millions of people have been infected, and hundreds of thousands have died from the disease. The pandemic has led to widespread lockdowns, travel restrictions, and economic disruptions, causing significant social and economic upheaval. It is important to control the COVID-19 pandemic to prevent its further spread and reduce its impact. This can be achieved through a combination of measures, including social distancing, wearing masks, practicing good hand hygiene, and getting vaccinated. These measures can help slow the transmission of the virus, reduce the number of infections, and ultimately save lives. Controlling the COVID-19 pandemic also requires a coordinated global response. Countries must work together to share information, resources, and expertise to develop effective strategies for controlling the spread of the virus. Public health officials must also continue to monitor the situation closely and adapt their strategies as the pandemic evolves.

Detecting the COVID-19 virus is crucial for several reasons. Firstly, early detection can help prevent the spread of the virus by isolating infected individuals and implementing appropriate infection control measures. Secondly, identifying positive cases allows for timely treatment and monitoring of patients, potentially reducing the severity of the illness and improving outcomes. Lastly, tracking the prevalence and spread of the virus through testing is crucial for public health officials to make informed decisions regarding public health measures. Currently, there are several techniques available for detecting the COVID-19 virus. The most common method is a PCR (polymerase chain reaction) test, which detects viral genetic material in a patient’s respiratory sample. PCR tests are highly accurate and sensitive, making them the gold standard for COVID-19 diagnosis. Another technique is antigen testing, which detects the presence of viral proteins in respiratory samples. Antigen tests are less sensitive than PCR tests but are faster and more cost-effective, making them useful for rapid screening in certain settings such as workplaces, schools, and airports. In addition, antibody testing can detect if a person has been infected with the virus in the past by looking for antibodies in their blood. While antibody tests cannot diagnose current infections, they can provide valuable information on the prevalence of the virus in a population and can be used to determine if an individual has developed immunity to the virus after recovering from a COVID-19 infection or receiving a vaccine.

In a new study published in the peer-reviewed Journal Frontiers in Microbiology, Jingsong Xu, Xi Wang, Shuang Yang, Dr. Lei He, Yuting Wang, Jiajun Li, Dr. Qian Li, and led by Professor Min Li and Professor Hua Wang from the Shanghai Jiao Tong University developed a new fast method for the visual detection of SARS-CoV-2 using a versatile integrated tube. The authors optimized the reaction conditions using SARS-CoV-2 RNA standards to ensure sensitivity and specificity. The testing process took only 40 minutes to complete and the results can be visual to the eye. They found that the method can detect the target ORF1ab and N genes at an excellent limit of detection down to 50 copies/ml without cross-reactivity with four other respiratory viruses or clinical samples of common respiratory viral infections. The research team validated their new technique using clinical samples of 90 SARS-CoV-2 positive and 30 SARS-CoV-2 negative patient specimens and compared their results with the gold standard RT-PCR evaluations. The reported method successfully achieved an overall sensitivity of 94.5% and a specificity of 100.0% for detecting SARS-CoV-2.

The new versatile integrated tube technique is a diagnostic tool developed for the rapid and visual detection of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. The method consisted of a small tube that contains all the necessary reagents for detecting the virus in a patient sample, such as a nasal swab. It works by using a simple color-changing reaction to detect the presence of the virus. When a patient sample is added to the tube, the reagents in the tube react with any SARS-CoV-2 viral RNA present in the sample. The amplification process generates a detectable color change in the tube, indicating the presence of the virus. The reported method was designed to be a simple and rapid diagnostic tool that can be used in a variety of settings, including remote or resource-limited areas. According to the authors it has the advantage that it does not require specialized equipment or training to use, making it accessible to a wider range of healthcare workers and laboratories.

It is also more portable and easier to use, making it ideal for point-of-care testing in field settings or for use in community screening programs. In conclusion, the importance of COVID-19 testing cannot be overstated. Early detection and monitoring of cases are essential for controlling the spread of the virus and implementing effective public health measures. With the availability of new testing techniques, healthcare providers can choose the most appropriate testing method based on the patient’s clinical situation and the setting in which testing is being conducted.

A versatile integrated tube for rapid and visual SARS-CoV-2 detection - Medicine Innovates

About the author

Min Li, Prof. Dr. Director of Department of Laboratory Medicine Ren ji Hospital Affiliated to Shanghai Jiaotong University School of Medicine. Focus on Bacterial pathogenesis and Antibiotic resistance. The long-term goal is to elucidate the mechanism of staphylococci pathogenesis and the regulatory mechanisms involved in quorum sensing, biofilm formation, virulence, and drug resistance, and to provide potential drug targets for treatment of bacterial infectious diseases.

About the author

Hua Wang, associate professor. Dr. Focuses on the application of microfluidic technology and molecular POCT. As the first author or corresponding author, he has authored more than 20 peer-reviewed publications and has applied/issued more than 10 patents. He has presided over 8 scientific research projects including the National Natural Science Foundation of China

About the author

Jingsong Xu is a Postgraduate student at Renji Hospital Affiliated to Shanghai Jiaotong University School of Medicine. He was awarded the outstanding graduate and outstanding graduation thesis of Shanghai Jiao Tong University School of Medicine. He is carrying out research on the rapid detection of pathogens and the discovery and application of novel tumor markers.


Xu J, Wang X, Yang S, He L, Wang Y, Li J, Liu Q, Li M, Wang H. A versatile integrated tube for rapid and visual SARS-CoV-2 detection. Front Microbiol. 2023 ;13:1070831. doi: 10.3389/fmicb.2022.1070831.

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