The university said it hopes to begin product development in early 2021 and have an approved device available in six months.
Researchers at Oxford University in the UK have developed a rapid test for COVID-19 that can identify the coronavirus in less than five minutes, researchers said on Thursday, adding that it could be used for mass testing at airports and businesses.
The university hopes to start product development in early 2021 and have an approved device in six months.
It will be able to detect the coronavirus with high accuracy and distinguish it from other viruses, the researchers said.
“Our method quickly detects intact virus particles,”; said Professor Achilles Kapanidis of the Oxford School of Physics, adding that this means that the test will be “simple, extremely fast and cost-effective.”
Rapid antigen tests are seen as key factors for mass testing and economic recovery while the coronavirus is still circulating.
On Wednesday, Siemens Healthineers announced the launch in Europe of a kit for rapid antigen testing for coronavirus infections, but warned that the industry could fight the surge in demand.
Although the Oxford platform will not be ready until next year, tests can help cope with the pandemic in time for next winter.
Hopes for a quick release of the vaccine have recently failed, as US pharmaceutical firm Eli Lilly said on Tuesday it had suspended three phases of an antibody treatment trial due to an unspecified incident, the second less than 24 hours after Johnson & Johnson encountered a similar problem.
Health officials have warned that the world will have to live with the new coronavirus, even if a vaccine is developed.
“A significant concern for the coming winter months is the unpredictable consequences of the joint circulation of SARS-CoV-2 with other seasonal respiratory viruses,” said Dr. Nicole Robb, of Warwick Medical School.
“We have shown that our analysis (test) allows us to reliably distinguish different viruses in clinical specimens, which is an extraordinary advantage in the next phase of the pandemic,” added Robb, who is working on the device at Oxford University.
The virus is still spreading worldwide, with more than one million deaths and 37 million infections. Many countries that suppressed their first outbreaks are now facing a second wave.
This week, the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom Boris Johnson announced new restrictions to control the outbreak of infections, as bars and pubs are closed in the most affected areas of England.
In the United Kingdom, Labor opposition leader Cyrus Starmer has called for a two- to three-week blockade to slow the pace.