Mitochondrial DNA based COVID-19 test

The United States scientists have developed a new rapid COVID-19 test to measure mitochondrial DNA in the blood sample of the COVID-19 patients. The test will be highly helpful to identify people at the highest risk of the virus.

About the test

The mitochondrial DNA is a unique type of genetic material that normally resides inside the energy factories of the cells. However, in COVID-19 patients the mitochondrial DNA is spilling out of the body cells into the bloodstream. This leads to cell death. Eventually the COVID-19 patients go into hyperinflammatory death.

According to the scientists, the spill out of mitochondrial DNA is the main reason for tissue damage and eventual organ failure especially in lungs, kidney and heart in COVID-19 patients.

Mitochondrial DNA

The Mitochondrial DNA is located in the mitochondria of the body cells. Mitochondria converts chemical energy in food into Adenosine Triphosphate (ATP). The ATP provides energy for muscle contraction and nerve impulse propagation.

The mitochondrial DNA is inherited from the mother.

Apart from humans, the mitochondrial DNA is also found in algae and fungi.


Mitochondria is called the power house of the cell. They are membrane bound organelle. It functions as the digestive system of a cell. It promotes growth of new cells and cell multiplication. It is found in both plant cell and animal cell.


The violent death of cells is called necrosis. It is common in COVID-19 patients. Necrosis is a form of cell injury that results in premature death of cells. This occurs when too little blood flows into the tissue.

Reactive Oxygen Species

The major side effect of COVID-19 is inducing mitochondrial reactive oxygen species. The Reactive Oxygen Species are highly reactive chemical molecules. They are formed due to electron acceptability nature of oxygen. Some of the Reactive Oxygen Species are superoxide, peroxides, hydroxyl radical, alpha-oxygen.


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