20-second COVID-19 test launched in UK

20-second COVID-19 test launched in UK

A British company developed a 20-second saliva COVID-19 test, UK media announced. 


Virolens has been developed by British start–up iAbra, with design and manufacturing expertise from TT Electronics and technology powered by Intel. 


The test uses a mouth swab to extract saliva which is then analysed to identify the virus. 


A digital camera attached to a microscope to analyse saliva samples


Based on microscopic holographic imaging and artificial intelligence, the screening device uses a digital camera attached to a microscope to analyse saliva samples, with the data run through a computer which is trained to identify the virus from other cells, delivering an end result in just 20 seconds, Businesscloud reports.


Trials of the “Virolens” test have taken place at Heathrow Airport, the company, which was founded in 2010, said.


A 99.8% sensitivity and 96.7% specificity


The Virolens system has a 99.8% sensitivity and 96.7% specificity, based on the results of an internal in-vitro validation study, designed by the University of Bristol. 


Current gold–standard WHO PCR COVID tests are conducted in offsite laboratories by biologists using traditional ‘wet testing’ techniques, involving intrusive swabs and can take several hours to produce a result.  


Our system allows simple, high speed, reliable and low-cost testing in dynamic environments,” Greg Compton, CEO of iAbra, added in a statement.


“Testing for COVID-19 is the lifeline that the UK economy needs to get back on its feet,” said John Holland Kaye, CEO at Heathrow Airport.