Scientists from Oxford University, UK have announced the development of a rapid COVID-19 test, which is able to identify the coronavirus status in less than 5 minutes.
While making the disclosure, Researchers on Thursday, October 15, 2020, said it could be used in mass testing at airports and business environments.
The University of Oxford said it hoped to start the development of the testing device in early 2021 and have an approved device available 6 months afterward. Early detection of the disease is very important in the management of the coronavirus pandemic, especially at this period of growing signs of a second wave of the virus.
In a pre-print study, the researchers said the device is able to detect the coronavirus and distinguish it from other viruses with high accuracy.
Professor Achilles Kapanidis of the Department of Physics at Oxford University said, “Our method quickly detects intact virus particles. This meant the test would be simple, extremely rapid, and cost-effective.”
Rapid antigen tests are seen as key in rolling out mass-testing and re-opening economies while the coronavirus is still circulating, and those that are already in use are faster and cheaper but less accurate than existing molecular PCR tests.
Siemens Healthineers on Wednesday announced the launch of a rapid antigen test kit in Europe to detect coronavirus infections but warned that the industry may struggle to meet a surge in demand.
Although the Oxford platform will only be ready next year, the tests could help manage the pandemic in time for next winter. Health officials have warned that the world will need to live with coronavirus, even if a vaccine is developed.
Nairametrics had earlier reported that the lead developer for the Oxford University’s COVID-19 vaccine, Sarah Gilbert, revealed that the leading vaccine candidate could be rolled out by the end of 2020. The experimental vaccine, which is done in collaboration with AstraZeneca is in an advanced late-stage trial.
Why this matters
This is much faster than the COVID-19 test kits just developed by some Nigerian scientists to hasten the treatment and containment of the coronavirus disease across the country. The newly developed test is cheaper than other PCR tests and can give results in less than 40 minutes.