Aluminium coffee capsules turned into Covid tests
A cheap and sustainable coronavirus test has been developed by Wageningen University and TNO using recycled aluminium espresso pods and a 3D printer.
The new test system, which was named “CoronaEspresso”, is an ordinary aluminium Nespresso-type coffee capsule filled with a cheap paraffin-based phase change material. The cup is covered with a 3D-printed sample holder with space for four test samples at a time.
It is a reusable device and the test consists of inserting a small (PCR or LAMP) tube into the CoronaEspresso.
Called an Eppendorf tube, this contains a mixture of chemicals and enzymes to which the test sample is added, just like in large-scale testing lanes.
For half an hour, the entire unit is placed in water that has just finished boiling. The paraffin warms the samples to 65 degrees and keeps them at that temperature for 25 minutes.
This allows a so-called LAMP reaction to take place and, after that time, the result can be read from a colour change in the samples.
The test result can be determined without the need for another lab.
“Centralised testing is only useful and feasible in terms of capacity to a certain extent. There were no good alternatives available for more efficient and effective decentralised testing (at home, at school, at work),” Dr Vittorio Saggiomo explained.
“The currently available home tests are antibody-based tests. This is another technique that works particularly well with high virus concentrations, but people with lower virus concentrations will get a negative test result.
“A LAMP-type test you can take at home that has comparable reliability to the PCR test is of very beneficial. Furthermore, antibody-type tests can only be used once and then they are discarded. That is exactly what we do not want.”
Find out more about CoronaEspresso here.
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