Researchers at the University of Birmingham have developed a new Covid-19 test capable of providing reliable results in less than 10 minutes.
The test, called RTF-EXPAR, has been found to be “just as sensitive” in detecting Covid as PCR tests but offers faster results and could be used at airport arrival terminals.
The university’s Surgical Research Laboratory found the new test had a “sample to signal” time of under 10 minutes and it was able to detect low levels of Covid which current lateral flow or antigen tests struggle to pick up.
PCR tests are seen as being more accurate than lateral flow tests but take longer to process and test providers are currently being investigated for their high prices and poor service by the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA).
Professor Tim Dafforn, who is working on the Birmingham University project, said: “An ideal test would be one that is both sufficiently sensitive and speedy – our test, called RTF-EXPAR, achieves this goal.”
The Birmingham University team is planning to publish full tests results “in the future” and is now looking for commercial partners for rapid licensing of the RTF-EXPAR test to make it as widely available as possible.