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Devising a Dry-Swab COVID-19 Testing Method

Posted on Tuesday, June 16, 2020

Sanjay Srivatsan is a fourth-year ARCS Scholar in the MD/PhD Genome Sciences graduate program at University of Washington. His PhD research work has focused primarily on developing new sequencing technologies to uncover how individual cells behave in both development and disease. One such technology—a high-throughput drug-screening platform using DNA sequencing—is now patented and presented in an article published in Science

Applying his expertise to the COVID-19 pandemic, Sanjay is the lead scientist in the development of a dry-swab method that can be used to test for the novel coronavirus. The main advantages of using a dry-swab method include lowering the cost of testing materials and circumventing the use of globally limited molecular biology reagents. He is the primary author of a paper describing this work. The paper is currently available on bioRxiv awaiting peer review.

Sanjay is also a contributor to the Seattle Coronavirus Assessment Network (SCAN) to help provide and scale up COVID-19 testing in the Pacific Northwest. SCAN aims to provide home-based, self-collected swabs to help slow the spread of COVID-19.

Sanjay credits his list of accomplishments to the confidence he received from his experience with ARCS Foundation. “ARCS has afforded me confidence by supporting me directly in both my science education and my development as a professional.” He says the support he received enabled him to focus on free and creative ideas that led to the aforementioned innovations.