Low cost, rapid coronavirus test receives Imperial College 3M research award



Dr Jesus Rodriguez-Manzano

A power-free, cost effective, rapid COVID-19 test has been developed by Dr Jesus Rodriguez-Manzano and colleagues

Dr Jesus Rodriguez-Manzano, Lecturer in the Department of Infectious Disease along with colleagues from the NIHR Health Protection Research Unit and Department of Electrical and Electronic Engineering have developed a rapid, cost effective coronavirus diagnosis test SmartLidTM. Using novel sample preparation method for RNA extraction, based on magnetic beads and utilizing a customised 3D printed magnetic lid - or, SmartLidTM extraction method. 

Covid-19 has shone a light on the need for rapid diagnostic screening which has resulted in a global shortage of laboratory supplies such as RNA extraction kits. There is an urgent need in Low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) which has seen the impact of this shortage more acutely, where even before the current pandemic, access to both manual and automated extraction equipment alike was severely limited.

The key advantage of the SmartLidTM is that it does not require electricity to run and allows for true point-of-care extraction outside of a laboratory environment. The test enables rapid results in less than 5 minutes and cost effective (less than £0.50 per sample) nucleic acid extraction, without the need for trained staff or expensive laboratory equipment.

SmartLidTM method has received overwhelmingly positive feedback from collaborators, who have tested it in CAT3 laboratory environments, and from visiting clinicians with experience in LMIC diagnostics. 

The team will use the funding to deliver immediate impact over the next 3-6 months by deploying the SmartLidTM approach to rapidly extract RNA from COVID-19 patients in the NHS or other clinical/non-clinical environments where timely and accurate diagnosis is vital.




Rakhee Parmar

Rakhee Parmar
Department of Infectious Disease

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Contact details

Email: r.parmar@imperial.ac.uk

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