Smartphone screen testing, a novel pre-diagnostic method to identify SARS-CoV-2 infectious individuals

Rodrigo M. Young, Camila J. Solis, Andres Barriga-Fehrman, Carlos Abogabir, Alvaro R. Thadani, Mariana Labarca, Eva Bustamante, Cecilia V Tapia, Antonia G. Sarda, Francisca Sepulveda, Nadia Pozas, Leslie C. Cerpa, María A. Lavanderos, Nelson M. Varela, Alvaro Santibañez, Ana María Sandino, Felipe E. Reyes-López, Garth Dixon, Luis A. Quiñones

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)


The COVID-19 pandemic will likely take years to control globally, and constant epidemic surveillance will be required to limit the spread of SARS-CoV-2, especially considering the emergence of new variants that could hamper the effect of vaccination efforts. We developed a simple and robust - Phone Screen Testing (PoST) - method to detect SARS-CoV-2-positive individuals by RT-PCR testing of smartphone screen swab samples. We show that 81.3-100% of individuals with high-viral-load SARS-CoV-2 nasopharyngeal-positive samples also test positive for PoST, suggesting this method is effective in identifying COVID-19 contagious individuals. Furthermore, we successfully identified polymorphisms associated with SARS-CoV-2 Alpha, Beta, and Gamma variants, in SARS-CoV-2-positive PoST samples. Overall, we report that PoST is a new non-invasive, cost-effective, and easy-to-implement smartphone-based smart alternative for SARS-CoV-2 testing, which could help to contain COVID-19 outbreaks and identification of variants of concern in the years to come.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 2021


  • COVID-19
  • SARS-CoV-2
  • RT-PCR
  • Virus


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