The university said it hoped to start product development in early 2021 and have an approved device available six months later.
Researchers from the University of Oxford in the UK have developed a rapid COVID-19 test that is able to identify 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 unit six months later.
It will be able to detect coronavirus and distinguish it from other viruses with high accuracy, the researchers said.
“Our method quickly detects intact virus particles,”
Rapid antigen testing is seen as the key to rolling out mass testing and reopening economies while the coronavirus is still circulating.
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 be struggling to meet rising demand.
Although the Oxford platform will only be ready next year, the tests could help steer the pandemic in time for next winter.
Hopes for a rapid rollout of the vaccine recently suffered a setback when US pharmaceutical company Eli Lilly said on Tuesday that it had suspended the phase three trial of its antibody treatment over an unspecified incident, the second in less than 24 hours after Johnson & Johnson ran into 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 effects of co-circulation of SARS-CoV-2 with other seasonal respiratory viruses,” said Dr. Nicole Robb from Warwick Medical School.
“We have shown that our analysis (test) can reliably distinguish between different viruses in clinical trials, a development that provides a crucial benefit in the next phase of the pandemic,” added Robb, who works at the Oxford University unit. .
The virus is still spreading worldwide with more than one million deaths and 37 million infections. Many nations that suppressed their first outbreak are now facing another wave.
This week, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced new restrictions to control the rise in infections, with bars and pubs closing in the hardest-hit parts of England.
In the UK, Labor opposition leader Keir Starmer called for a two- to three-week “power outage” block to slow rates.