Researchers from the University of Sheffield and the Yorkshire company Paraytec have developed a more accurate, efficient and low-cost COVID-19 test.

The new test detects intact viral particles and gives an accurate result in five minutes. Sensitive enough to detect as few as 1,000 virus particles in a patient sample; the average COVID-19 patient has about a million virus particles at the peak of infection.

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It would also improve cancer detection

What distinguishes this test from already available technology like PCR (polymerase chain reaction) and lateral flow tests is its speed and the fact that it detects intact viral particles.

The test works by using a fluorescent dye that targets the proteins present in the virus, the sample then travels in front of a viewing window that detects fluorescent light and turns the result into an easy-to-understand result. The screen will show the result, green for negative and red for positive, which the user can scan through a QR code to record their result.. The new method has been tested with clinical samples from Sheffield Teaching Hospitals

The science behind the test means that it can be applied to a variety of pathological conditions including infectious diseases. Future research will look at how this testing technology could be used in other applications, such as improving bladder cancer detection.