Coronavirus spurs development of rapid testing kits

Date:23 March 2020 Author: Kyro Mitchell Tags:,

One issue the medical world is currently facing is the rate at which people can get tested for the coronavirus. It takes about one to two weeks to get your results back after you have been tested, which takes a huge toll on your mental health and can result in a continued spread of the virus.

In an effort to mitigate the amount of time you have to wait for your COVID-19 results, nations around the world are focusing their efforts on creating a testing kit that provides results in a matter of minutes.


Japan’s Textile and Chemical product maker Kurabo Industries Ltd are at the forefront of this initiative, as the company announced on Thursday that it has developed a testing kit that can detect new coronavirus in 15 minutes, far shorter than the current method.

According to the company, the kits are currently undergoing trials in Nagasaki, Japan and this involves taking a swab from either the throat or nose of a patient, the using fluorescent dye to show whether or not the person is infected with the virus.


Researchers from Canada have also been hard at work developing a testing kit capable of delivering results in less than a day. Paul Lem, the founder and chief executive of Spartan Bioscience announced that he expects to have a hand-held product capable of identifying the COVID-19 virus within 30 to 45 minutes in the next few weeks.

Lem has over 14 years of building DNA testing kits, and he believes they’re flexible enough to make the transition over to diagnosing the COVID-19 virus. Lem’s testing kits will be similar to other kits employed by various nations around the world. Genetic material is collected from a cheek swab before being amplified through a process called polymerase chain reaction. Spartan uses a technique called realtime or qPCR, in which data is collected throughout the PCR cycle.  The company’s core product, Spartan Cube, serves as a portable mini-lab that offers analysis of the swab on-site.


California based molecular diagnostics company, Cepheid have received special ‘emergency approval authorisation’ from the FDA to begin using a newly developed COVID-19 testing kit capable of delivering results in 45 minutes. Cepheid uses a testing machine called GeneXpert that can run a full test in 45 minutes. There are currently more than 23,000 automated GeneXpert systems worldwide, with nearly 5,000 of them in the U.S., Cepheid said in a statement.

Germany and South Africa

While Germany might be dealing with dealing with its own 26,000 reported cases of the coronavirus, that hasn’t stopped them from assisting us here in South Africa. On 13 March, Germany made the generous donation of R2.5 million to help South Africans contain the spread of the virus. That money was used to purchase testing kits.

“Fighting the virus should bring out the best in all of us,” said German Ambassador Martin Schafer.

Image: Pixabay

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