Israeli Company Introduces Coronavirus Test With Results in 30 Seconds

A medical worker test residents of Elad at a mobile testing station for COVID-19 last week. (Flash90)

NanoScent, an Israeli company, has produced an examination kit that determines the presence of the coronavirus within 30 seconds. Tests among hundreds of patients in Israeli hospitals, among them Ichilov and Poriyah, point to an accuracy rate of over 90%. The test was developed with assistance from the Health Ministry.

The company says that the test identifies carriers of the virus who are asymptomatic from four days after being infected. The cost of the test is one dollar, whereas the cost of the actual kit is tens of thousands of dollars.

The test is more reliable than checking temperature, but it will not replace the swab tests. Rather, they give an initial indication of contact with the virus. It foreseeably will be widely used at entrances to bus stations, airports, workplaces, schools and halls.

NanoScent’s sensors combine digital technology with nanoscale materials, called chemiresistors, which change their electrical resistance in response to chemicals in the environment. If successful, the sensor will rapidly detect viral infections from breath exhaled through the nose.

NanoScent has already received many requests from around the world to purchase their product. This is the second Israeli product to address identification of the coronavirus. The first testing method, designed by Professor Gabby Sarusi of Ben Gurion University, identifies carriers of the COVID-19 virus in less than a minute. It samples particles from a breath test or from throat and nose swabs, such as ones already used for current tests. The samples are then placed on a chip with a dense array of metamaterial sensors designed specifically for this purpose.

The system then analyzes the biological sample and provides an accurate positive/negative result within a minute via a cloud-connected system. The point-of-care device automatically backs up the results into a database that can be shared by authorities, making it easier than ever to track the course of the virus, as well as to triage and treat patients.

The new method is based on the change in the resonance in the high frequency spectral range imposed by the coronavirus through a spectroscopy performed on the device. This spectral range has been employed in recent decades for the fast detection and identification of biological samples.

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