TAIPEI (Taiwan News) —The National Health Research Institutes (NHRI) in Taiwan announced Thursday (April 2) it has successfully developed a rapid diagnostic test for the Wuhan coronavirus (COVID-19), promising results within 10 to 15 minutes.
Based on findings from previous studies on the SARS epidemic, the NHRI — in collaboration with the National Defense Medical Center — discovered that SARS antigens could also be used to test for the coronavirus, reported CNA.
Similar to the method used to test for influenza, only a nasal swab is required to collect a secretion sample. The secretions are then placed in a test kit containing coronavirus antibodies, which will cling to the virus.
A change of color or the appearance of a visible line on the test strip indicates a positive result.
The nasal swab test would be less costly to produce than a nucleic acid test and could be widely used at clinics and hospitals for a quick diagnosis. This would contribute to early intervention and prompt quarantine measures before suspected patients’ symptoms get worse while reducing the risk of additional infections, NHRI Vice President Sytwu Huey-kang (司徒惠康) stated.
More experiments are still needed to ensure the accuracy of the diagnostic test, Sytwu declared. He added that there was no timetable for when it could be ready for clinical use. The institute will convene a tender settlement meeting next week to select interested companies for trial mass production of the kits, Sytwu concluded.