A UK based laboratory claims it has come up with a kit that can detect the presence of coronavirus in just 15 minutes.
AlphaBiolabs is entering the fight against the deadly outbreak with its "fast and accurate" finger-prick testing kit, the Liverpool Echo reports.
A spokesman for the firm said the test can be performed by an individual or company health professional – and will show whether a person has the infection or not.
Unlike many other tests, the firm from Warrington, Cheshire, said its new kit can diagnose Covid-19 before symptoms appear.
AlphaBiolabs said the sample collection method used with this kit is less unpleasant than the nasopharyngeal method used widely elsewhere.
The company is now targeting businesses and organisations looking to screen their workforces.
David Thomas, managing director of AlphaBiolabs, said: “This rapid immunoassay-based test can detect the presence of a Covid-19 infection without using expensive private clinics or relying on an already-stretched NHS.
“Recent studies suggest that a high percentage of patients show no clinical symptoms, which is why the spread of coronavirus is creating major logistical and operational problems for businesses, with no way of predicting how long the pandemic will last or the impact it will have.
"Human resources teams are having to deal with the physical and emotional concerns of their staff while continuing to perform their duties in this climate of uncertainty.
“Immediate results are essential if employees need to be isolated or quarantined.”
He added: “Most companies are putting together plans to have employees working from home but, for many sectors this is not possible, such as distribution, warehousing, logistics or service businesses.
“As a testing services provider, we have been inundated by requests from our customers to help address the issue, as a lot of the advice currently available from government, health bodies and the media is very mixed.
“We are pleased to be able to respond to this demand by offering a fully-certificated European-registered device which can be used in a healthcare or commercial premises environment. We are proud to be the first UK laboratory equipped to process test results on a mass scale, although we have a limited supply of the kits available.”
The rapid coronavirus screening test kit costs £125 plus VAT and involves a "few simple steps".
A blood sample is taken via a finger prick and put into a small screening device to which two or three drops of testing fluid are added.
Within 15 minutes, the results will be shown through the appearance of up to three lines in the detection window of the device.
The screening results also provide information on the stage of Covid-19, identifying whether there has been recent exposure or later infection.
The test works by the screening of antibodies immunoglobulin M (IgM) and immunoglobulin G (IgG).
News of the finger-prick test comes after health authorities said the UK currently does not have enough tests to start widespread community screening.
Instead only those admitted to hospitals with symptoms are currently tested.
The government's chief scientific adviser Sir Patrick Vallance earlier lauded efforts to find a vaccine for the bug, although a mass-produced one remains many months away.
Yesterday, 45 people had a jab developed in the US tested on them.
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