Rollout of eye-scan test for COVID-19 targeted by German firm

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A Munich-based company hopes to help usher in a new era of coronavirus testing with an eye scan that, it says, takes just three minutes to identify carriers of the disease and has a hit rate of 95 percent.

Semic RF has developed its scanning app with colleagues in the US and, pending regulatory approval, hopes to start rolling it out there by the end of next month, says its managing director, Wolfgang Gruber.

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It uses a photo of the eye taken with a smartphone, and identifies the virus by means of a symptomatic inflammation called “pink eye”.

“We managed to isolate COVID-19 from over two million different shades of pink,” Gruber told Reuters.

He says the app, already tested on over 70,000 individuals, can process up to a million scans per second and the option to expand that capacity further - potentially allowing crowds back into mass-attendance events like concerts and football matches.

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“You take your app, take a picture of both eyes, send it for evaluation, and then you can have the evaluated result stored as a QR code on the tested person’s smartphone,” Gruber added.

The app is initially being targeted at companies and commercial users, at a cost of 480 euros ($570) per month, with a later rollout to private individuals planned.

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