Sherlock Biosciences has received an Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) from the FDA for a rapid COVID-19 test that uses CRISPR technology. This is the first FDA-authorized use of the gene-editing tool, which poses both massive potential and ethical issues.
Sherlock’s CRISPR SARS-CoV-2 test uses a CRISPR molecule to detect the genetic signature of the virus. If it finds the virus, the CRISPR enzyme is activated, and that releases a detectable signal. The kit, which uses a nasal swab or bronchoalveolar lavage (BAL) specimen, is designed for use in laboratories authorized to perform high complexity tests. While it’s considered a “rapid” test, Sherlock did not say how long it takes to process the results.