Scientists in the UK are developing a new smart testing device for the coronavirus and now need backers to get the device manaufactured quickly and in large quantities.
The team from Brunel University London, Lancaster University and the University of Surrey reckon the can test for Covid-19 infection in half an hour. The device has already been successfully tested in The Philippines to check chickens for viral infection and the team has now adapted it to detect Covid-19 in people. The system is quick and easy to use, requires little training and could be used by healthcare workers and even lay people.
“Now we have access to multiple genomes (blueprint) of SARS-CoV-2 virus, we can develop reliable molecular assay in a week and have them up and running on the device in three or four weeks,” explains Brunel’s Wamadeva Balachandran. “We are confident it will respond well, and we rapidly need industrial partners to come on board. It will have a huge impact on the population at large,” he adds.
The operator takes an oral or nasal swab, puts it into the device and connects to the smart phone app. Samples do not need to go to a laboratory and the same device can be used to test six samples simultaneously. The addition of telemedicine functionality will make the device even more useful. The idea is to try and make it cheaper than other tests so it can be used worldwide at home, in doctor’s surgeries, hospitals, and workplaces. Once the infection is identified, the intelligent system will track down all people who had close contact with the newly identified patient in the previous two weeks and alert them to the threat.