Professor Jackie Ying and her team of scientists at the Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*Star) in Singapore, have invented a new test that can detect if a person is infected with the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) in at least five (5) minutes.
Professor Ying said, “We have done some preliminary clinical validation at the KK Women’s and Children’s Hospital using real patients’ samples, and found the test to be very sensitive and accurate.”
She also said that if the test gets approved, it may be used in hospitals, including clinics of general practitioners.
Most rapid COVID-19 test worldwide for now
The scientists hope to submit the test next month for approval. And if it gets pass approval, it will become the most rapid test in the world just yet.
Professor Ying’s team invented with the technology after taking up A*Star’s Chief Executive Frederick Chew’s challenge to come up with a fast and accurate way to diagnose COVID-19 in patients without using expensive machines.
How do they conduct the test?
First, a patient’s secretions are collected from a swab which will be placed in a portable device that will produce results in about 5-10 minutes.
As stated by The Strait Times, an extremely rapid amplification method called “Cepat” is being used in the test invented by the team of scientists.
According to Professor Ying, existing lab tests take about two to three hours to come up with results, wherein 60 percent of the time is spent on waiting for the “molecular photocopier” to heat up and cool down. Compared to Cepat, which can replicate the virus’ DNA/RNA to a million copies within a minute.