A 15-minute COVID-19 test that could provide a magic bullet for the internal travel and border woes of the country was developed by Australian researchers.
Scientists from Sydney University of Technology say they have developed a responsive saliva test that can collect viral fragments of SARS-CoV-2 in less than 15 minutes.
With a hard border in Western Australia and varying degrees of travel restrictions in other Australian states, rapid COVID-19 testing could improve virus detection and screening of travelers, the researchers said.
It could also be useful in hospitals, elderly care and the workplace.
The test prototype will be manufactured in Perth and would cost less than $25 per test. Laboratory tests with live viruses are expected to begin before Christmas.
Dr Dayong Jin of UTS said in a statement on Monday that the test is sensitive enough to detect the presence of as little as one trillionth of a gram of SARS-CoV-2 virus fragments.
“A person with COVID-19 can be contagious 72 hours before symptoms appear. With the sensitivity of our optical technology, we are trying to identify the viral protein in the saliva of asymptomatic but already infectious patients,” Dr. Jin said in a statement.”
“This would allow for much more effective contact tracing and rapid discovery of pockets of disease before it is transmitted to others.”