INSIGHT: a scalable isothermal NASBA-based platform for COVID-19 diagnosis

Study code

Lead researcher
Dr Sarah Teichmann

Study type
Samples and data

Institution or company
Sanger Institute

Researcher type

Speciality area
Infection, COVID


As testing for COVID-19 has become a big part of our lives, our study aims to assess a new, cheap, and rapid method of diagnosing COVID-19 by using saliva samples. This method is unique to other tests in that it has a high degree of accuracy and has the potential to be performed anywhere, both at low and large scale.

The development of this method, named INSIGHT, has taken one year. We have collected saliva and nasal swab samples from individuals undertaking other types of COVID-19 tests and assessed these using INSIGHT.

We have found that we can consistently detect low levels of virus in COVID-19 patients. This is a critical step in reducing the cost and increasing the accessibility of COVID-19 tests.

We are now hoping to work with a company to make these tests available for the public, and we are very grateful to the individual volunteers from the NIHR BioResource who provided blood and clinical information to enable us to undertake this work.

Participation: For this study 175 participants from the COVID-19 BioResource took part by providing a small blood and saliva sample and also a nose &throat swab for COVID-19 testing.

Organisation: This study is organised by Dr Sarah Teichmann from the Wellcome Sanger Institute