Your Coffee Pods Could Double as a COVID-19 Test

Now you can have a COVID-19 test along with your morning coffee. Researchers have developed an innovative way of recycling coffee pods to make them into at-home testing kits.

According to Fast Company, researchers in the Netherlands have created a testing system that employs the aluminum casing of the Nespresso brand pods to heat samples taken from oral or nasal swabs and subsequently detect viral RNA from the virus.

The device is called “CoroNaspresso,” and while the current research has not been peer-reviewed, the developers hope that the technology will result in a “cheap, rapid and simple home test.”

The scientists from the Laboratory of BioNano Technology at Wageningen University & Research, say that the CoroNaspresso uses the LAMP COVID-19 test that was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for emergency use authorization last November. The test can detect SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, at home.

While the aluminum pod testing process takes a lot longer than brewing your favorite cup of coffee, it is a simple process. According to Fast Company, you take your oral or nasal swab material and insert it into the LAMP test tube which is then placed in a 3D printed holder that slides into the coffee capsule. The capsule is heated in a hot bath of water for 30 minutes. After the time is up, you let the capsule cool for three minutes. If the liquid in the vial turns yellow, the COVID-19 test is positive. The researchers used Nespresso pods, but scientist say any aluminum coffee casing would probably do just as well.

While the technology is still in its initial phases and experts say that aside from the coffee capsule, the other testing elements may not be easy to obtain, so it may be a while before the prototype becomes a real-world reality. Bur proponents say it is an ideal way to reduce the waste already caused by the pandemic from personal protective equipment to disposable masks to vaccine needles, says Fast Company.

The researcher released an informative video of their invention that graphically explains the process.

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