Taiwan university develops 15-minute coronavirus test

All it takes is a droplet of blood, no professionals required

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Easy Vial test (National Sun Yat-sen University’s Institute of Medical Science and Technology photo)

Easy Vial test (National Sun Yat-sen University’s Institute of Medical Science and Technology photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — A university in Taiwan’s Kaohsiung has developed a quick test for the coronavirus (COVID-19) that is said to identify asymptomatic patients in 15 minutes.

Led by Yang Hong-wei (楊閎蔚), associate professor at National Sun Yat-sen University’s (NSYSU) Institute of Medical Science and Technology, a team of scientists invented the “Easy Vial,” which incorporates catalytic nanomaterials and bio-based coatings.

All it takes is a droplet of blood to determine who has been infected but has yet to exhibit any symptoms in the early stages. The experiment involves taking samples from an imported case, who tested positive for COVID-19 and was admitted to a negative-pressure isolation ward in Taiwan but showed no symptoms.

The Easy Vial manages to detect the presence of IgM in the patient’s blood samples through the vial’s conversion of colors using chromogen. IgM is a type of antibody that is the first to be generated by the human body in response to an infection, indicating the individual has contracted the virus even without displaying symptoms.

The method yields a high accuracy result in just 15 minutes, compared to the hours required for a nucleic acid test based on the enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) technique, researchers of the experiment said. The approach can be applied to detect other infectious diseases, including Zika virus, Ebola, and dengue fever.