New COVID-19 Test Gives 90-minute Result in Huge Winter Boost

The new ‘CovidNudge’ test designed by Imperial College London has shown over 94 per cent sensitivity in identifying cases and can be performed at a patient’s bedside.

Experts say a new portable Covid-19 test, which aims to diagnose the disease in 90 minutes, could make a “huge difference” in hospitals ahead of the winter battle against the virus. The test, dubbed ‘CovidNudge’, has been shown to have over 94% sensitivity – the ability to correctly identify positive cases – and 100% specificity, the ability to correctly identify negative cases. It has been designed by Imperial College London spinout firm DnaNudge.

How the device works

The process, which is similar to other methods, involves collecting nasal and throat swabs from patients and placing them on to a cartridge which goes into a shoebox-sized machine known as NudgeBox for analysis. (See diagram below). The device then looks for traces of genetic material belonging to the coronavirus. The difference from other methods is the size of the device, the accuracy, and the speed of the test with its 90-minute result.

The UK government placed a €180m (£161m) order for 5.8 million cartridges and 5,000 NudgeBox machines last month. Graham Cooke, professor of infectious diseases at Imperial College London, was handed the task of evaluating the results of the tests which were performed on 386 NHS staff and patients. He described the CovidNudge testing kit as a “useful part of the whole puzzle for diagnostics”.

New COVID-19 Test Gives 90-minute Result in Huge Winter Boost
A full description of the device was published in the medical journal ‘The Lancet’ this week. image: Twitter

The tech behind the device

Professor Cooke said: “This [the test] is particularly well suited for clinical settings when you are trying to make a rapid decision for a patient. For example, we had a patient from last week who had a new diagnosis of COVID. We were able to get the diagnosis confirmed within two hours of arriving and start Remdesivir and Dexamethasone [drugs used to treat severe Covid-19] on that basis – much quicker than we would have been able to with confidence without that.”

A faster and more accurate test is urgently needed. Across the UK this week hundreds of children were sent home in what the media described as a ‘testing fiasco’.

We hope you enjoyed this article “New COVID-19 Test Gives 90-minute Result in Huge Winter Boost”.

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Tony Winterburn

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