- A coronavirus diagnostic kit developed by a British firm is not only cheaper but is also faster.
- The testing kit aimed at the developing world could assist even the advanced economies such as the U.S. Less than 0.2% of the U.S. population had been tested for the novel coronavirus by Wednesday.
- The U.S. currently has the third-highest number of COVID-19 cases in the world behind Italy and China.
The United States’ capacity and efficiency in combating the novel coronavirus may be accelerating but there is still room for improvement.
A new 10-minute test kit could prove a game-changer in the fight against the outbreak.
Cheaper, faster and efficient diagnostic kit
British-based diagnostics firm Mologic has developed a coronavirus testing kit that eliminates today’s major pain points in diagnosing the disease.
Mologic’s testing kit which only takes ten minutes to give a result is now undergoing preliminary validation at the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine and St Georges’ University London.
After the initial assessment, a global validation exercise for the diagnostic kit will occur at the Wuhan Institute of Virology in China and La Jolla Institute for Immunology in the U.S. among other institutions.
COVID-19 test for under a buck
According to Bloomberg, the price of a single test will be under $1. This a fraction of the current costs of a test.
Mologic’s chief scientific officer Paul Davis told Bloomberg:
Full-scale manufacturing will begin a few weeks before we release it on the market. We want to make it available to everyone.
The price of the COVID-19 tests is about $36 for the tests that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has developed. Commercial tests cost roughly $52.
Additionally, testing using the Mologic diagnostic kit will not require specialized training:
Once ready, the device will allow users to test for exposure to the virus at home, in the community, or in the clinic, providing a result within 10 minutes, without the need for special training, electricity or a laboratory.
A specific date for full-scale production is yet to be set. The diagnostic kit will be manufactured in Senegal. This is under a partnership that Mologic has with the Institut Pasteur de Dakar
Will the U.S. coronavirus cases overtake Italy’s this week?
Such a testing kit for the respiratory illness caused by the novel coronavirus could greatly accelerate testing globally. In the U.S., for instance, it is estimated that as of Wednesday 370,000 tests had been conducted.
The total number of coronavirus cases is now approaching 70,000.
At the current rate, the U.S. could overtake Italy’s number of cases by the end of the week. Italy’s number currently stands at slightly over 74,000.