‘The most significant innovation is that the test can be carried out on site, within an hour, eliminating the need to send the saliva to a special lab.
The Ruth and Bruce Rappaport Faculty of Medicine at Technion Institute of Technology is developing a home test that can rapidly detect the novel coronavirus in less than an hour.
Prof. Naama Geva-Zatorsky and her research team are working to make the method usable as a mass testing kit at workplaces, points of care and households. The test requires only a saliva sample, reagents and a heating device.
The test is done by immersing the saliva sample in a test tube that contains a reactive material and then placing the tube in a heating device. A color change in the material indicates the presence of the coronavirus. “The test is not designed to replace the current conventional method,” added Geva-Zatorsky.
The test currently identifies 99% of cases when tested on standard swabs in medium and high concentrations of the virus, but a second test is required when dealing with low concentrations of the virus. “We are now completing the experiments in order to improve sensitivity to the presence of the virus, even in low concentrations,” explained the professor.
Once the test is approved by the Health Ministry, it could be used at entrances to hospitals, nursing homes, airports and drive-through facilities.
“The new test will primarily increase the scale of testing in the community, and will enable the population to be surveyed faster and on a much wider scale,” said Rambam’s Prof. Michal Paul. “The most significant innovation is that the test can be carried out on site, within an hour, eliminating the need to send the saliva to a special lab.”