The device which could provide a COVID-19 result in 20 seconds

Results from current COVID tests can take days. Picture: Dion Georgopoulos
Results from current COVID tests can take days. Picture: Dion Georgopoulos

A newly developed COVID-19 screening device which delivers a result within 20 seconds will be launched globally on Friday, following a successful three-week trial at London's Heathrow Airport.

The current, biologically-based gold standard polymerase chain reaction (PCR) laboratory tests can take several days.

Virolens is a simple saliva test which its makers claim delivers "99.8 per cent sensitivity and 96.7 per cent specificity".

British start-up company iAbra led the development of the device which tests samples using imagery, rather than biology.

Staff at a London office test the Virolens screening device. Picture: Supplied

Staff at a London office test the Virolens screening device. Picture: Supplied

The device was developed in just 21 weeks and is "based on microscopic holographic imaging and artificial intelligence (AI) software technology".

During a validation study, the Virolens system was claimed to pick out the specific number of COVID viral cells in and amongst 13 million other human cells.

It has the capability to "see" 10 molecules of the virus in a single saliva sample, compared with around 500 needed for a conventional PCR test.

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The user swabs their tongue in a conventional way, inserts that swab into the cartridge and inserts it into the top of the machine, which then displays a red or green light depending on the test result. Each machine can perform "many hundreds of tests per day".

An Australian company, KeyOptions, has the distribution rights for Asia, south-east Asia and Latin America.

This story The device that could provide a COVID-19 result in 20 seconds first appeared on The Canberra Times.

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