Portable Covid-19 test could be rolled out in weeks

Published by  News Archive

On 23rd Mar 2020

portable covid-19 test equipment with mobile phone

Researchers at the University of East Anglia are pioneering a portable coronavirus kit which could be rolled out to test NHS staff in weeks.

The test would provide a result, displayed on a smartphone, in just 50 minutes after taking a throat swab.

Most current tests take 24-48 hours to provide results because they need to be sent to labs.

The new molecular test could be used to process 16 samples at a time – or up to 384 samples if using a lab-based detection machine.

The test kit aims to help self-isolating medical staff return to work as quickly as possible. And it will also ensure that those at work are not spreading the virus.

Lead researcher Dr Justin O'Grady, from UEA’s Norwich Medical School, began work on the kit earlier this month. He said: “The idea behind this is that we need to test NHS staff more quickly, so they can stay at work if they are well, or go home if they’re a risk to potentially very vulnerable patients.

"We want to move very quickly on this, and hope that it could be rolled out nationally to hospitals in around two weeks.”

The kit works by sequencing the genetic material (RNA) from a throat swab sample using a rapid three minute RNA extraction (Arcis Biotechnology) – in order to detect the presence of Covid-19.

“The test is simple to use so it could be carried out by a semi-skilled healthcare professional,” said Dr O’Grady.

“We hope it could provide additional capacity within the NHS because only those who are definitely ill with covid-19 would need to self-isolate. And it will help doctors get back to work as quickly as possible once they test negative.”

Study Medicine at UEA

More world-leading research

Latest News

  News
Pen on a book
17 Jan 2022

New Centre for Contemporary Poetry to shine a light on marginalised poets

UEA is set to become the home of a new collection of archives amplifying the voices of poets from underrepresented groups in British and Irish literature, thanks...

Read more >
  News
A pregnant woman stands next to a window
17 Jan 2022

Helping new mums stay smoke free

UEA researchers are recruiting to a major new study to help new mums stay smoke free.

Read more >
  News
11 Jan 2022

Norwich Business School joins highly acclaimed Small Business Charter

The accolade is in recognition of its expertise in supporting small businesses, student entrepreneurship, and the local economy, with Norwich Business School at...

Read more >
  News
A selection of fruits and vegetables representing a Mediterranean diet.
10 Jan 2022

Could a Mediterranean diet be key to prevent dementia?

UEA researchers are launching a study to see whether the beneficial effects of a Mediterranean diet could help prevent dementia.

Read more >
Are you searching for something?
  News
A selection of fruits and vegetables representing a Mediterranean diet.
10 Jan 2022

Could a Mediterranean diet be key to prevent dementia?

UEA researchers are launching a study to see whether the beneficial effects of a Mediterranean diet could help prevent dementia.

Read more >
  News
A woman at an outdoor group exercise class stretches her arms
07 Jan 2022

How exercise interventions could help people with asthma

Interventions aimed at promoting physical activity in people with asthma could improve their symptoms and quality of life – according to new UEA research.

Read more >
  News
Photograph of the US research ship Nathaniel B Palmer at the ice front of Thwaites Glacier
05 Jan 2022

UEA scientists lead new mission to Antarctica’s remote Thwaites Glacier

On the 100th anniversary of the polar explorer Sir Ernest Shackleton’s death, a research mission using a fleet of underwater robots to determine the impact of...

Read more >
  News
A man wears a headset device designed to help diagnose dizziness.
22 Dec 2021

£1.25 million funding boost for dizziness device

UEA researchers have been awarded £1.25 million to develop a device to help people with dizziness.

Read more >
  News
16 Dec 2021

Bestselling authors and inspirational thought leaders announced in UEA Live’s spring line-up

With headliners ranging from literary heavy hitters to up-and-coming social activists, and books that include memoir, political commentary, thriller and...

Read more >
  News
Cancelled flight information board at airport due to COID-19 pandemic
15 Dec 2021

Human cost of Covid travel restrictions revealed in new study

New research shows the high human costs and negative impacts of border closures and travel bans during the Covid pandemic for ‘transnational’ individuals and...

Read more >