TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Scientists and engineers from Taiwan and Denmark have joined forces to create a rapid Wuhan coronavirus (COVID-19) test that can provide highly accurate results in as few as 12 minutes.
BluSense Diagnostics (柏勝生技), a Taiwanese-Danish company originally subsidized by the Ministry of Science and Technology (MOST) under the "MOST Germination Program," on Wednesday (April 8) announced that it has created a new rapid test that requires only one drop of blood to detect the presence of COVID-19 in asymptomatic persons within 12 minutes. The company said that the test has an accuracy rate of 90 percent and that it is expected to receive CE marking for the European Union in May and for Taiwan in June.
As the coronavirus pandemic spreads, the firm stated that it created the serology test within the span of only three weeks. At a press conference held by MOST on Wednesday, BlueSense Diagnostics CEO and founder Filippo Bosco and Executive Vice President Jessie Sun (孫偉芸) presented the firm's research findings.
The company carried out a preliminary clinical trial last week at Hvidovre Hospital, the second-largest hospital in Denmark. The tests were found to be 90 percent accurate in the 15 cases examined.
Local doctors in Denmark were said to be encouraged by the results. Next week, more clinical trials will be carried out in Italian hospitals on over 200 cases.
The advantage of the test is that since it can be completed so quickly, it can take a lot of the burden off medical laboratories. Another advantage is that only one drop of blood is needed, and no pretreatment, such as centrifugation, is required.
Bosco explained that the test can detect both Immunoglobulin M (IgM) and Immunoglobulin G (IgG) antibodies simultaneously to determine the stage of infection. IgM is the antibody that appears in the early stage of infection, which is good for the early screening of suspected cases.
As IgG appears in the middle and late stages of infection, it can be used to determine whether the patient is in the recovery period or whether or not they have been infected.
According to the company's website, it has offices in Copenhagen and Taipei and combines "modern Scandinavian bioengineering and medical device design with first-rate Taiwanese hardware, software, and manufacturing engineering."
Rapid test kit for COVID-19. (BlueSense Diagnostics photo)