Oxford scientists develop five-minute coronavirus antigen test

A biologist operates EasyCOV, a rapid salivary test for COVID-19 developed by French firm SkillCell, in Paris, France, Oct. 12, 2020. (Reuters)

SULAIMANI (ESTA) — Scientists from Britain’s University of Oxford have developed a rapid coronavirus test able to identify the virus in less than five minutes, researchers said on Thursday.

The university said it hoped to start product development of the testing device in early 2021 and have an approved device available six months afterwards, according to Reuters.

The researchers further said in a pre-print study that the device is able to detect COVID-19 and distinguish it from other viruses with high accuracy.

The developed device could be in mass testing at airports and businesses, according to the researchers.

“Out method quickly detects intact virus particles,” said Professor Achilles Kapanidis, at Oxford’s Department of Physics, Reuters said.

Kapanidis added that 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.

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