Everything we know about the new 15-minute COVID-19 test. And how it could change everything.

As testing for COVID-19 continues to be a crucial cornerstone in the recovery of this health crisis, scientists are working on a new test that could return results in mere minutes. 

Yes, a 15-minute coronavirus test is currently being developed by researchers in Australia.

The Queensland government has provided $1.5 million in funding to biotechnology firm Xing Technologies to work on this project. 

The current test for coronavirus involves a 24 to 48 hour waiting period before results are developed - meaning the patient must isolate as they await a response.

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Video via Mamamia. 

Researcher Dr Yadveer Grewal explained on Nine's Today program: "Someone could have a nasal swab taken, apply it to a strip and within five to 15 minutes, depending on how infectious they are, get a result then and there."

He added that doctors and nurses could use the rapid test every time they start a hospital shift to protect patients from the deadly disease.

"Testing yourself every couple of days is about equivalent to having a once-off high-quality specific test from a lab," he said.

Xing Technologies is hoping to have its new COVID-19 test on the market by the end of 2020 and also eventually hopes to use XavTrap to test for other infectious viruses like dengue fever, and even cancer.


"Ideally then, we are able to manufacture immediately by the end of the year and distribute it," Dr Yadveer said.

"Because our technology is easily programmable we have other lead candidates we are exploring, and they can come online early next year."

The news comes as the World Health Organisation has said 120 million rapid diagnostic tests for coronavirus will be made available to low and middle-income countries at a maximum of $US5 ($AU7.10) per unit.

WHO Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said the manufacturers Abbott and SD Biosensor had agreed with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to "make 120 million of these new, highly portable and easy-to-use rapid COVID-19 diagnostic tests available over a period of six months".

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What will a rapid COVID-19 test mean for the world?

A quick coronavirus test would be instrumental in improving the ability for countries and communities to respond to COVID-19 clusters. 

They would be particularly useful in remote settings and to investigate outbreaks quickly and bring them under control.

"This will be really, really helpful for communities and countries to be able to know where is the virus and who is infected with the virus," Maria Van Kerkhove, WHO technical lead on COVID-19, said.

Further to this, it could benefit the possibility of travel if people can be tested for the virus before boarding a plane, ensuring they are not carrying the deadly disease to new places. 

At the time of publication, nearly 34 million people have been infected with the coronavirus globally and over one million have died, according to a Reuters tally.

Image: Getty.

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