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3D printing lays foundation for a new range of diagnostic tests

3D printing lays foundation for a new range of diagnostic tests

Written by David

May 10, 2021


Researchers at KU Leuven have developed a 3D printing technique that extends the possibilities of lateral flow testing. These tests are widespread in the form of the classic pregnancy test and the COVID-19 self-tests. With the new printing technique, advanced diagnostic tests can be produced that are quick, cheap, and easy to use.


The COVID-19 pandemic has made everyone aware of the importance of rapid diagnosis. The sale of self-tests in pharmacies has been permitted in Belgium since the end of March. This self-test is a so-called lateral flow test. Using a wiper, a sample is taken through the nose. Next, it is dissolved in a solvent, and applied to the test kit. Absorbent material in the kit moves the sample downstream and brings it in contact with an antibody. If virus is present, a coloured line appears. The advantage of these tests is that they are cheap and do not require any specialised appliances. Lateral flow tests are useful for simple tests that result in a yes-no answer, but not for tests that require a multi-step protocol. That is why bioengineers at KU Leuven set out to develop a new type of lateral flow test […]

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