Coronavirus game changer: New 90-min test ‘no bigger than a cartridge’ snapped up by NHS

Rapid coronavirus tests are being rolled out by the Government that will return results in less than 90 minutes. The tests have been hailed as a crucial instrument in the fight against the pandemic, especially for the NHS as the UK heads into colder months. Professor Chris Toumazou, the Chief Executive of one of the companies behind the new tests, DNA Nudge, explained how it worked to Sky News.

Effectively the patient takes a swab and then inserts it into the equipment.

Professor Toumazou said: “It’s effectively an entire laboratory in something not much bigger than a printer cartridge.

“We’ve miniaturised everything, and the beauty is that you can actually take the test to the patient rather than taking the test to the laboratory, which takes a lot of time.

“It’s pretty simple and straightforward.”

Patients can either swab part of their nasal cave or use a saliva swab to take a sample from their mouth.

Then the swab is put into the cartridge and sealed, thus containing the virus.

The professor told Sky: “The first step is to kill the virus.

“You then extract the DNA in the virus, and then it detects whether you have the virus or not.”

He continued: “That takes about an hour because we have to amplify it to make it big enough to be detected.

“That’s all done in a shoebox size device called a ‘Nudge box’.

“Once you’ve done the test, you throw them away.”

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The new types of test do not require trained health staff to operate them.

Professor Toumazou confirmed that the invention is being sold at factory cost to the NHS at tens of pounds, and he said the cost could go down to “a few dollars eventually”.

It will be introduced to hospitals, care homes and labs next week.

They’ll be able to detect both COVID-19 and other winter viruses such as the flu.

The announcement comes as the Government had previously delayed targets for regular testing.

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