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Oxford University scientists conduct ‘extremely fast’ 5-minute COVID-19 test

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Oxford University Radcliffe cameras earlier this year after students were sent home and tourists were asked to stay away from the city.

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Scientists at Oxford University have developed an extremely fast COVID-19 test that can produce results in less than five minutes, the university said on Thursday.

researchers hoped in the test eventually can be used in airports, music venues and businesses to quickly create spaces without COVID.

The university said it hoped to start product development in early 2021, with an approved device available within six months. It is now working to set up a spinout company, seeking investment to speed up testing on a fully integrated device.

Earlier this week, Siemens Healthineers SHL,
-0.91%
launched a rapid antigen test that can identify the virus within 15 minutes, with plans for it to be submitted for Food and Drug Administration Emergency Use Authorization.

The Oxford test is able to identify SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, with high accuracy, the researchers said in a preliminary study which is yet to be reviewed by colleagues. It can also differentiate the virus from other infections such as influenza and seasonal human coronaviruses, the study added.

Professor Achillefs Kapanidis, from the Department of Physics at Oxford, said: Our method quickly detects intact virus particles; meaning the analysis is simple, extremely fast and cost effective.

The method involves taking swabs of the throat, which are then scanned for virus particles. The software to learn then quickly and automatically identifies the virus present in the sample utilizing the fact that different viruses have distinct surface chemistry, sizes, and shapes.

While progress may not develop into a fully functional mass testing device by the end of 2021, it could help countries and economies fight the pandemic next winter.

Dr. Nicole Robb, assistant professor at Warwick Medical School and a research co-leader, said: “An important concern for the coming winter months is the unpredictable effects of SARS-CoV-2 co-circulation with other viruses of the season. breathing; we have shown that our analysis [test] can reliably distinguish between different viruses in clinical specimens, a development that offers a crucial advantage in the next stage of the pandemic.

The University of Oxford also has a partnership with the British drug manufacturer AstraZeneca AZN,
-0.85%
to develop a candidate for the COVID-19 vaccine, Phase 3 testing of which remains pending in the US but has resumed elsewhere after a UK volunteer fell ill.

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