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University of Surrey help develop a new smart testing device for coronavirus

3 minute read
University of Surrey help develop a new smart testing device for coronavirus

Published at 4:48pm 25th March 2020. (Updated at 1:11pm 20th April 2020)

Researchers at the University of Surrey have helped developed a new smart testing device for the coronavirus which can give results in 30 minutes. 

They have worked alongside researchers at Brunel University London and Lancaster University. 

It is battery operated and connects to a smartphone, it works by taking nasal or throat swabs, which are put into the device, in 30 minutes, it can determine if someone has CoVID-19.

Now manufacturers are needed for a rapid roll-out.

The samples don’t need to go to a laboratory and the same device can test six people at once at a cost of around £4 per person, with the device itself costing around £100. 

The researchers believe that the device would be operated by care professionals, nurses, and biomedical scientists.

It would also let people self-isolating test themselves and health care workers test patients to help slow the spread of the pandemic and ease the burden on the NHS.

Brunel University London’s Professor Wamadeva Balachandran said they are confident it will respond well:

"We rapidly need industrial partners to come on board. It will have a huge impact on the population at large.

“Normally, anything like this would have to go through clinical trials, but this is not a normal situation.

"According to the Imperial College model, this pandemic might last for 18 months.

"And cases will rise over the next few months

"Everyone is crying out for these tests, and many will take a long time.

"We have limited time to stop the virus spreading, so anything like this is going to help.

"Speed is essential.

"With local hospitals’ help, we aim to do a limited number of tests with available positive and negative samples.” 

University of Surrey

Dr Anil Fernando, from the Centre for Vision, Speech and Signal Processing at the University of Surrey said the device can also help with contact tracing:

“The team firmly believe that both identifying CoVID-19 infection and minimising the spread of infection are important.

"Once infection is identified using this device, the app will automatically update the database and the intelligent system will track down all individuals who have been in close contact with the newly identified patient, alert them about the threat of having CoVID-19 and make recommendations regard further steps,”

Professor Roberto La Ragione, Deputy Head of the School of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Surrey, said they need a rapid response from manufacturers to deliver the test kit within the NHS and globally.