Scientists at Oxford University have reportedly developed a rapid COVID-19 test that will take only five minutes to produce results. At this time, the test is able to locate SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, with "high accuracy."
The team behind the test hopes to begin product development in the first quarter of 2021. From there, the test will take six months to be widely approved. If things go according to plan, researchers hope to have the rapid test together by next winter. Alongside a vaccine, this test could help to produce COVID-19 free spaces by the end of next year. Doctors are also hopeful that the test can become available by next winter in order to control the spread of the virus in conjunction with other illnesses such as the common cold and flu.
“A significant concern for the upcoming winter months is the unpredictable effects of co-circulation of SARS-CoV-2 with other seasonal respiratory viruses; we have shown that our assay [test] can reliably distinguish between different viruses in clinical samples, a development that offers a crucial advantage in the next phase of the pandemic," Dr. Nicole Robb of Warwick Medical School said.
Adding on, Oxford researchers are hoping to make the test cost-effective and available to the general public. Cost has become a major concern for rapid testing and a possible vaccine. As the virus continues to spread, making testing and vaccines affordable will become even more necessary.
“Our method quickly detects intact virus particles; meaning the assay is simple, extremely rapid, and cost-effective," Oxford University Professor Achillefs Kapanidis said.
In addition to developing a rapid COVID-19 test, Oxford University has partnered with AstraZeneca to develop a COVD-19 vaccine. It is currently in its third phase of trials. The two parties hope to have the vaccine ready for public use in 2021.
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