| 24.03,20. 04:17 PM |
Coronavirus: New quicker tests for use at hospitals, clinics approved
Coronavirus: Rapid test developments
Australian health regulators have urgently approved rapid coronavirus testing kits that provide results in less than an hour, with one promising to slash the waiting time to just 15 minutes.
The Therapeutics Goods Administration (TGA) is fast-tracking approval processes for COVID-19 testing as cases of the virus continue to rise.
Among the new tests approved by the TGA is the MD Solutions OnSite COVID-19 IgM/IgG rapid test, which promises results in 15 minutes.
It involves taking two drops of blood from a finger pinprick, similar to home diabetes testing.
The test will be initially used in hospitals and clinics, but in future it could be used by GPs and eventually at home.
Current tests that usually involve a doctor taking a swab from a patient's nose or throat and sending that sample off to a lab can take up to three hours. But backlogs mean final results can take as long as two or three days.
Another newly-approved rapid test is the Cepheid Xpert Xpress SARS CoV-2 test developed by US biotechnology company Cepheid. It promises results in about 45 minutes.
Quicker testing could allow many more patients to get confirmed diagnoses of coronavirus, potentially helping to slow the spread of the deadly disease.
Researchers at the Doherty Institute in Melbourne are involved in assessing and trialling the rapid tests.
It has been given $2.6 million by the federal government to improve testing for COVID-19 in Australia.
"We can't understand or control the COVID-19 pandemic without increasing testing capacity, so we're putting all the innovation we can behind it, and will work with laboratories across the country to rapidly expand the options and capabilities for testing COVID-19 in Australia," Professor Sharon Lewin, director of the Doherty Institute, said.
How is coronavirus transmitted?
The human coronavirus is only spread from someone infected with COVID-19 to another. This occurs through close contact with an infected person through contaminated droplets spread by coughing or sneezing, or by contact with contaminated hands or surfaces.
What are the symptoms of someone infected ?
Coronavirus patients may experience flu like symptoms such as a fever, cough, runny nose, or shortness of breath. In more severe cases, infection can cause pneumonia with severe acute respiratory distress.