Smartphone Screen Testing, a novel pre-diagnostic method to identify SARS-CoV-2 infectious individuals

  1. Rodrigo M Young  Is a corresponding author
  2. Camila J Solis-Cascante
  3. Andres Barriga-Fehrman
  4. Carlos Abogabir
  5. Alvaro R Thadani
  6. Mariana Labarca
  7. Eva Bustamante
  8. Cecilia V Tapia
  9. Antonia G Sarda
  10. Francisca Sepulveda
  11. Nadia Pozas
  12. Leslie C Cerpa
  13. María A Lavanderos
  14. Nelson M Varela
  15. Alvaro Santibañez
  16. Ana M Sandino
  17. Felipe Reyes-Lopez
  18. Garth Dixon
  19. Luis A Quiñones  Is a corresponding author
  1. Institute of Ophthalmology, UCL, United Kingdom
  2. Diagnosis Biotech, Chile
  3. Grupo Oncológico Cooperativo Chileno de Investigación, Chile
  4. Clínica Dávila, Chile
  5. Clinica Davila, Chile
  6. University of Chile, Chile
  7. Faculty of Chemistry and Biology, University of Santiago of Chile, Chile
  8. Great Ormond Street Hospital National Health Service Foundation Trust, Chile

Abstract

The COVID-19 pandemic will likely take years to control globally, and constant epidemic surveillance will be required to limit the spread of SARS-CoV-2, especially considering the emergence of new variants that could hamper the effect of vaccination efforts. We developed a simple and robust - Phone Screen Testing (PoST) - method to detect positive SARS-CoV-2 individuals by RT-PCR testing of smartphone screen swab samples. We show that 81.3-100% of individuals with high-viral load SARS-CoV-2 nasopharyngeal positive samples also test positive for PoST, suggesting this method is effective in identifying COVID-19 contagious individuals. Furthermore, we successfully identified polymorphisms associated with SARS-CoV-2 Alpha, Beta and Gamma variants, in SARS-CoV-2 positive PoST samples. Overall, we report that PoST is a new non-invasive, cost-effective, and easy to implement smartphone-based smart alternative for SARS-CoV-2 testing, which could help to contain COVID-19 outbreaks and identification of variants of concern in the years to come.

Data availability

All the data used generated by this study was provided in the uploaded manuscript and source files.

Article and author information

Author details

  1. Rodrigo M Young

    Institute of Ophthalmology, Institute of Ophthalmology, UCL, London, United Kingdom
    For correspondence
    rodrigo.young@ucl.ac.uk
    Competing interests
    Rodrigo M Young, co-founder of Diagnosis Biotech.
    ORCID icon "This ORCID iD identifies the author of this article:" 0000-0001-5765-197X
  2. Camila J Solis-Cascante

    Diagnosis Biotech, Santiago, Chile
    Competing interests
    No competing interests declared.
  3. Andres Barriga-Fehrman

    Diagnosis Biotech, Santiago, Chile
    Competing interests
    Andres Barriga-Fehrman, co-founder of Diagnosis Biotech.
  4. Carlos Abogabir

    Diagnosis Biotech, Santiago, Chile
    Competing interests
    Carlos Abogabir, co-founder of Diagnosis Biotech.
  5. Alvaro R Thadani

    Diagnosis Biotech, Santiago, Chile
    Competing interests
    No competing interests declared.
  6. Mariana Labarca

    Diagnosis Biotech, Santiago, Chile
    Competing interests
    No competing interests declared.
  7. Eva Bustamante

    Departamento de Oncología, Grupo Oncológico Cooperativo Chileno de Investigación, Santiago, Chile
    Competing interests
    No competing interests declared.
  8. Cecilia V Tapia

    Laboratorio de Especialidad, Clínica Dávila, Santiago, Chile
    Competing interests
    No competing interests declared.
  9. Antonia G Sarda

    Laboratorio de Especialidad, Clínica Dávila, Santiago, Chile
    Competing interests
    No competing interests declared.
  10. Francisca Sepulveda

    Clinica Davila, Santiago, Chile
    Competing interests
    No competing interests declared.
  11. Nadia Pozas

    Laboratorio de Especialidad, Clínica Dávila, Santiago, Chile
    Competing interests
    No competing interests declared.
  12. Leslie C Cerpa

    Department of Basic and Clinical Oncology, University of Chile, Santiago, Chile
    Competing interests
    No competing interests declared.
  13. María A Lavanderos

    Department of Basic and Clinical Oncology, University of Chile, Santiago, Chile
    Competing interests
    No competing interests declared.
  14. Nelson M Varela

    Department of Basic and Clinical Oncology, University of Chile, Santiago, Chile
    Competing interests
    No competing interests declared.
  15. Alvaro Santibañez

    Faculty of Chemistry and Biology, University of Santiago of Chile, Santiago, Chile
    Competing interests
    No competing interests declared.
    ORCID icon "This ORCID iD identifies the author of this article:" 0000-0001-9330-2961
  16. Ana M Sandino

    Faculty of Chemistry and Biology, University of Santiago of Chile, Santiago, Chile
    Competing interests
    No competing interests declared.
  17. Felipe Reyes-Lopez

    Faculty of Chemistry and Biology, University of Santiago of Chile, Santiago, Chile
    Competing interests
    No competing interests declared.
  18. Garth Dixon

    Department of Microbiology, Virology and Infection Control, Great Ormond Street Hospital National Health Service Foundation Trust, Santiago, Chile
    Competing interests
    No competing interests declared.
  19. Luis A Quiñones

    Department of Basic and Clinical Oncology, University of Chile, Santiago, Chile
    For correspondence
    lquinone@uchile.cl
    Competing interests
    No competing interests declared.

Funding

Moorfields Eye Charity (Career Development Award 001155)

  • Rodrigo M Young

Moorfields Eye Charity (Springboard Award GR001210)

  • Rodrigo M Young

Agencia Nacional de Investigacion y Desarrollo Chile (ANID-Covid0789)

  • Luis A Quiñones

Agencia Nacional de Investigacion y Desarrollo Chile (ANID-Covid1038)

  • Ana M Sandino

Agencia Nacional de Investigacion y Desarrollo Chile (ANID-Covid1038)

  • Ana M Sandino

Fondecyt (1211841)

  • Felipe Reyes-Lopez

The funders had no role in study design, data collection and interpretation, or the decision to submit the work for publication.

Reviewing Editor

  1. Joshua T Schiffer, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, United States

Ethics

Human subjects: Informed consent and consent to publish was obtained from all the individuals that participated in this study before performing the sampling process. This has been made explicit in the materials and methods section of the article. Ethical approval was obtained by the Ethics and Scientific Committee of Clinica Davila (Santiago, Chile) under the approval titled: "Identificación de marcadores de riesgo asociados a la severidad del Covid-19 en el microbioma respiratorio".

Version history

  1. Received: May 16, 2021
  2. Accepted: June 21, 2021
  3. Accepted Manuscript published: June 22, 2021 (version 1)
  4. Version of Record published: July 12, 2021 (version 2)

Copyright

© 2021, Young et al.

This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License permitting unrestricted use and redistribution provided that the original author and source are credited.

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  1. Rodrigo M Young
  2. Camila J Solis-Cascante
  3. Andres Barriga-Fehrman
  4. Carlos Abogabir
  5. Alvaro R Thadani
  6. Mariana Labarca
  7. Eva Bustamante
  8. Cecilia V Tapia
  9. Antonia G Sarda
  10. Francisca Sepulveda
  11. Nadia Pozas
  12. Leslie C Cerpa
  13. María A Lavanderos
  14. Nelson M Varela
  15. Alvaro Santibañez
  16. Ana M Sandino
  17. Felipe Reyes-Lopez
  18. Garth Dixon
  19. Luis A Quiñones
(2021)
Smartphone Screen Testing, a novel pre-diagnostic method to identify SARS-CoV-2 infectious individuals
eLife 10:e70333.
https://doi.org/10.7554/eLife.70333

Share this article

https://doi.org/10.7554/eLife.70333

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