Researchers in Thailand claim to have developed a Covid-19 test kit that replaces swabs – and can detect infections in 15 minutes using a pin-prick of blood.
The Research and Innovation team at Songkhla University this week unveiled the test kits, named KBS Covid-19, which have been in development since the pandemic outbreak began.
They display results like a pregnancy test – much quicker than the three days some people have to wait in the UK for Covid-19 test results.
More than five million tests have been ordered from hospitals in Thailand and there is reportedly interest in the testing kits from the United States, India and a number of Arab countries in the Middle East.
Professor Pengsakul Theerakamol, one of the leaders of the research team, said the team designed a specific protein to detect Covid-19, using accurate gold nanotechnology. She said the test results are at least ”99 per cent accurate”.
The result displays like a pregnancy detection kit and can indicate the stage of infection in four stages – those who have never been infected, early-stage infection, infected for a while, and infected for a long time.
The test uses an immunochromatography technique to find antibodies IgM and IgG which are in the blood plasma. If a person who has Covid-19, the immunity system will react to the virus, which will show on the results of the KBS Covid-19 test.
A person without Covid-19, will show a different result in the test as the immunity system will not be reacting.
Professor Theerakamol said that their test method uses one or two drops of blood combined with a water solution and it takes only 15 minutes to show results.
The quickest Covid-19 swab tests take between three and four hours to get results as the samples have to be analysed in a lab. The tests can also be painful.
Professor Theerakamol said: “Both of the methods are accurate in testing for Covid-19 but this method is convenient, fast, and efficient which can be used with a lot of people.”
Kestrel Bio Sciences (Thailand) Co and Master Labs Incorporation Co, are solely authorised to produce and distribute the product respectively. About 100,000 kits can be supplied each day, she said.
The Thai Food and Drug Administration has reportedly certified the test and makers are now waiting for approval for it to be sold over-the-counter.