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Coronavirus

Coronavirus: New blood test for COVID-19 discovered, results in 20 minutes

Published: Updated:

A new blood test has been developed by Monash University in Australia that is able to detect a positive coronavirus sample in around 20 minutes, allowing for fast screening of large groups of people.

Health workers could use the new test to examine around 200 blood samples an hour with a simple laboratory setup, Monash University said in a statement on its website. Hospitals with more advanced machines would be able to test around 700 blood samples an hour, or around 16,800 per day.

“This simple assay, based on commonly used blood typing infrastructure and already manufactured at scale, can be rolled out rapidly across Australia and beyond. This test can be used in any lab that has blood typing infrastructure, which is extremely common across the world,” Dr. Corrie, senior lecturer in chemical engineering at Monash University said in the statement.

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COVID-19 cases were detected using just 25 microliters, or 0.025 milliliters, of blood from a patient. Using an agglutination assay, a test that looks for substances in blood, positive results featured clustering of red blood cells. These results were easily identifiable with the naked eye, improving the speed of the overall test.

“This simple, rapid, and easily scalable approach has immediate application in SARS-CoV-2 serological testing, and is a useful platform for assay development beyond the COVID-19 pandemic. We are indebted to the work of our PhD students in bringing this to life,” Professor Banaszak Holl, head of chemical engineering at Monash University said in the statement.

“Funding is required in order to perform full clinical evaluation across many samples and sites. With commercial support, we can begin to manufacture and roll out this assay to the communities that need it. This can take as little as six months depending on the support we receive,” he added.

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