JERUSALEM, Israel – The coronavirus pandemic and the need for widespread testing has sparked new efforts for companies to develop at-home testing kits for the public.
An Israeli research team from the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology is creating an at-home testing kit that they claim can quickly diagnose the SARS-CoV-2 virus, the virus strain that causes COVID-19.
Prof. Naama Geva-Zatorsky and her team say their testing kit can produce results in less than an hour and does not require samples to be sent to a lab.
“We developed a protocol for a test that requires only a saliva sample, reagents, and a thermal cup,” explained Geva-Zatorsky.
The team measured their test’s reliability using 200 biological samples from confirmed and suspected COVID-19 patients. The samples were provided by Israel’s Rambam Health Care Campus Biobank.
“We have found that, when tested on standard swabs, in medium and high concentrations of the virus, the test identifies 99% of the cases, but in low concentrations a second test is necessary a few days later,” said Geva-Zatorsky.
The research team is conducting further testing to prove the efficiency and accuracy of their protocol and are seeking approval from Israel’s Health Ministry.
“Once we receive the Health Ministry approval, the kit can be widely distributed. We see this test as suitable for use at entrances to hospitals, workplaces, nursing homes, airports, and in drive-through facilities,” said Geva-Zatorsky.
This test is not designed to replace the current coronavirus testing protocol, but to supplement it, and make testing more widely available to the Israeli public.
“The new test will primarily increase the scale of testing in the community, and will enable the population to be surveyed faster and on a much wider scale,” said Prof. Michal Chowers.