Researchers in the United Kingdom have developed rapid testing kits that can diagnose novel coronavirus (COVID-19) outside of a laboratory setting.
Brunel University London, Lancaster University, and University of Surrey scientists collaborated to develop the device that works using a person's throat or nasal swabs, the universities said in a joint statement.
The swabs are inserted in the hand-held and battery-operated device that returns the results through a smartphone app in 30 minutes, the researchers said, as earlier reported by TechCrunch.
The device can test up to six people at the time, and each individual test would cost around $4.6 (GBP 4), according to the statement.
Tests can be administered in different settings, including by people self-isolating at home, the researchers said. The device itself costs $118.5 (GBP 100).
If a person is diagnosed positive by the device, it will enable further steps that could include alerting people who may have been in close contact with the patient in the last 14 days.
The testing kit would need the approval of the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA), the U.K. regulatory body equivalent to the Food and Drugs Administration in the U.S. before they can be made available for use.
The researchers said that the science behind the device had been previously tested to check chickens for viral infections in the Philippines.
"Normally, anything like this would have to go through clinical trials. But this is not a normal situation," Professor Wamadeva Balachandran, part of the research team, said.
"Speed is essential. With local hospitals' help we aim to do a limited number of tests with available positive and negative samples."
There has been a shortage of testing kits across the globe, which has hampered efforts to stop the spread of the deadly virus.
At press time, 471,518 COVID-19 cases have been confirmed across the globe, including 21,293 deaths, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.
See more from Benzinga
- Elon Musk's SpaceX Makes And Donates Face Shields, Protective Suits, Sanitizer For COVID-19 Healthcare Workers
- Apple Shares Tank As Report Says New iPhone Launch Could Be Moved To Next Year
- T Coronavirus Stimulus To Pass Senate As Lawmakers, White House Reach Agreement
© 2020 Benzinga.com. Benzinga does not provide investment advice. All rights reserved.