Over the last decade, nucleic acid amplification tests (NAATs) including polymerase chain reaction (PCR) were an indispensable methodology for diagnosing cancers, viral and bacterial infections owing to their high sensitivity and specificity. Because the NAATs can recognize and discriminate even a few copies of nucleic acid (NA) and species-specific NA sequences, NAATs have become the gold standard in a wide range of applications. However, limitations of NAAT approaches have recently become more apparent by reason of their lengthy run time, large reaction volume, and complex protocol. To meet the current demands of clinicians and biomedical researchers, new NAATs have developed to achieve ultrafast sample-to-answer protocols for the point-of-care testing (POCT). In this review, ultrafast NA-POCT platforms are discussed, outlining their NA amplification principles as well as delineating recent advances in ultrafast NAAT applications. The main focus is to provide an overview of NA-POCT platforms in regard to sample preparation of NA, NA amplification, NA detection process, interpretation of the analysis, and evaluation of the platform design. Increasing importance will be given to innovative, ultrafast amplification methods and tools which incorporate artificial intelligence (AI)-associated data analysis processes and mobile-healthcare networks. The future prospects of NA POCT platforms are promising as they allow absolute quantitation of NA in individuals which is essential to precision medicine.
Keywords: Artificial intelligence; Isothermal amplification; Nucleic acid amplification test; Point-of-care testing; Ultrafast polymerase chain reaction.
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