CRISPR, a COVID-19 test that uses gene-editing technology (which returns results in an estimated 60 minutes) has been authorized by the Food and Drug Administration for emergency use.

This is the first time FDA has allowed a CRISPR-based tool to be used in patients since CRISPR technology quickly finds and links onto any genetic sequence in a specimen. The new test was created by the biotech company Sherlock Biosciences and it uses one molecule to look for the virus gene in a patient sample. Once found, it releases a signal that the system is able to detect.

The standard method for COVID-19 testing, called PCR, also looks for tiny bits of the virus gene. However, this method is slow and takes a special kind of equipment to run. CRISPR on the other hand, is faster and only need basic equipment which is found in most labs.

Sherlock Biosciences has announced that it is working to produce and distribute testing kits in the coming weeks.


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