Turkish scientists develop 10-second COVID-19 test

Turkish scientists develop 10-second COVID-19 test

Scientists at a university research centre in Turkey claim they have developed an ultra-rapid coronavirus test with 99% accuracy that can return results within 10 seconds - all without needing to take a nasal swab.

The Diagnovir, developed by researchers at Bilkent University, is a diagnostic kit said to use nanotechnology to detect COVID-19 in a patient.

First, a swab is taken from the patient's mouth before being mixed with a solution and added to a pathogen detection chip.

"It detects the presence of pathogens with high accuracy by receiving a fluorescent signal," said Ali Aytac Seyman, a researcher at the National Nanotechnology Research Centre (UNAM).

He then pointed out that, unlike the widely-used polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test, which detects specific genetic material in a sample before amplifying it, the Diagnovir "focuses on the existence or non-existence of the virus using advanced optical methods."

This, he says, can give a patient a positive result within 5-10 seconds, but would take up to 20 seconds if the result is negative. A PCR test, meanwhile, can take much longer.

The researchers are now aiming to get approval from Turkish authorities to begin mass-producing the kits within the next two months. They hope these will eventually replace PCR tests.

"Finding out rapidly that a person is [COVID-19] positive to then quarantine them is very important to bring the pandemic under control," Bilkent University Rector Abdullah Atalar told Anadolu Agency. He then suggested that similar technology could also be used to detect other coronaviruses.