Researchers from Stanford University have developed a novel molecular test that has the potential to revolutionize disease monitoring, crop health assessment, and more. Traditional molecular tests, like PCR tests for COVID-19, rely on target amplification to detect specific molecules, making them accurate but time-consuming and costly. The new Stanford molecular test eliminates the need for target amplification.

The test involves an array of minuscule silicon boxes on a silicon chip. When illuminated with near-infrared light from below, the light reflects off the contents of each box in a way that identifies the molecules present. This technique allows the test to rapidly and accurately identify targets like the coronavirus without requiring amplification.

The Stanford molecular test has the added capability of simultaneously detecting multiple targets in a single sample or quantifying the concentration of a target. The team demonstrated its efficacy by detecting COVID-19 without target amplification. By attaching different bait to the boxes, the test can detect various targets such as DNA, RNA, proteins, or small molecules.

The researchers envision numerous applications for this technology. They have launched a startup called Pumpkinseed Bio to commercialize the test, suggesting that it could be used to monitor crop immunity, conduct efficient screenings for multiple diseases, and perform environmental monitoring.Article written by   Kristin Houser