COVI-PHI, a simple and rapid SARS-CoV-2 diagnostic test

Felipe Cortés and Luis Blanco


    Felipe Cortés and Luis Blanco


    Centro Nacional de Investigaciones Oncológicas (CNIO) and Centro de Biología Molecular Severo Ochoa (CMBSO-CSIC), Madrid, Spain


    Only genetic tests have sufficient sensitivity to reliably diagnose COVID-19 infection in early and asymptomatic (yet contagious) stages of the disease, but they constitute current bottleneck for massive testing due to the need for specialized equipment.

    This imposes a spatial and temporal separation of sample collection, testing and decision-making that limits our capacity for disease contention by rapid identification and isolation of infected individuals.

    COVI-PHI is a simple genetic test that, by operating at room temperature, is adaptable to point-of-care testing and individual portable devices without compromising sensitivity and reliability. By decentralizing COVID-19 diagnosis, COVI-PHI will boost the capacity of primary care centers and even private end users to take quick and effective decisions on individual confinement measures. This will radically improve our capacity to control future outbreaks and minimize economic impact. Furthermore, the versatility of the method should allow its adaptation to the diagnosis of additional emerging infectious diseases.