New coronavirus swab tests gives results in just 15 minutes, study finds – The Sun

PATIENTS displaying coronavirus symptoms could get their results in just 15 minutes with a new swab test, a study has found.

Testing has become a top priority across the globe as governments struggle to keep up with demand, with Prime Minister Boris Johnson promising that 200,000 tests will be completed by the end of May in the UK. 

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Scientists in Europe have now evaluated the capabilities of 15-minute disposable antigen tests that would detect Covid-19.

The COVID-19 Ag Respi-Strip has been developed by a Belgium company and could become a useful part of broader government policy to stop the spread of the virus.

The new study garnered samples from more than 300 previously infected patients.

The two-phase project examined the sensitivity and specificity of the new test during its lab development stage and then using the patients.

Accuracy was 82 per cent in the previously infected patients with an overall sensitivity of 57.6 per cent, this means how often a test generates a positive result.

This is while it was found the test generated a negative result 99.5 per cent of the time.

On average the test was able to detect Covid-19 infection in about six out of ten people, according to the study published in Frontiers in Medicine.

It was more sensitive in patients with higher viral loads, identifying an infection in seven out of ten people.

The authors said: "The detection of viral infections in patients attending primary care centres would allow healthcare workers to rapidly identify new outbreak foci and define quarantine measures for high viral shedders and/or suspect patients to limit the spread of the epidemic."

They also highlighted that the test is quicker, cheaper and less complicated but not as sensitive as other tests such as the reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction. This is where the ID virus can be used to screen patients during the pandemic.

BioConcept developed the strip and the kit is similar to a lateral flow test, which most people will be familiar with in pregnancy tests.

The Respi Strip uses antigen test samples from a swab and looks like a cotton bud that goes through the nostril and down the nasal passage.

The test works by looking for proteins on the surface of the virus and the testing of the strips was partially based on the SARS outbreak. At present the strip cannot determine the difference between Covid-19 and SARS.

BioConcept estimated that the test could reduce the amount of lab tests by 13 per cent and said current testing capabilities are limited due to the fact that trained medics need to carry them out.

They said the strips should not be used as a definite answer but as part of a "broader testing strategy".

"A major usefulness of the COVID-19 Ag Respi-Strip test would be in the low- and middle income countries, where molecular assays are available in very few laboratories, mainly only in capital cities."


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