News, Policy & Media

15Jul

Use of CRISPR technology grows

CRISPR biotechnology is expected to disrupt the testing market, in a move away from PCR-based testing approaches. Since February 2020, over 170 CRISPR-based diagnostic tests have been granted EUA from the FDA in the United States. This reflects the growing market within this field, a sector that could become a prominent player in the expanding testing market supply base. With countries across the world needing to invest in diagnostics during the COVID-19 crisis, a variety of technologies including CRISPR-based diagnostics will be able to find their feet in the competitive marketplace.

CRISPR is a biotechnological tool that has the capacity for gene editing. This is due to its ability to detect specific sequences of DNA within a gene of interest and subsequently ‘snipping’ it, using an enzyme effectively functioning as molecular scissors. Specific sequences of DNA such as those found in the SARS-CoV-2 virus, rendering it an effective diagnostic option. Two start-up companies have already developed rapid tests using CRISPR techniques, Sherlock Biosciences and Mammoth Biosciences. This section of the market is expected to expand as the technology is increasingly recognised for its diagnostic potential and, in the face of a second wave of the virus, demand rises from a range of institutions such as hospitals, schools and workplaces.

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