German industrial group bosch has developed a covid-19 test which it claims can deliver a result in just under 40 minutes, and be processed using a portable device.
Funded in part by the german government, the test could be taken at the likes of airports and sporting events, bosch said on friday, allowing people to wait for the results.
The test uses polymerase chain reaction technology, which is widely considered to be the most accurate method of testing for the presence of coronavirus.
However, the scramble to expand testing capacity, and develop tests that deliver results more quickly, has triggered a race to develop new products, some of which have drawn the concern of scientists.
Bosch said its test has a sensitivity the ability to avoid false negatives of 98 per cent, and a specificity the ability to avoid false positives of 100 per cent.
Privately owned and based in the central german city of gerlingen, bosch is best known as the worlds biggest supplier of car parts. it also has a healthcare and diagnostics business, and developed its first covid-19 test in march.
It said its test works with the companys own vivalytic analyser device, a credit-card sized machine that can test for a variety of diseases, using cartridges that already contain the reagents necessary for determining a result.
Currently, the device, which has european regulatory approval, can only process one test at a time, but it will be able to process five simultaneously from october, bosch said, up to a total 160 per day. bosch declined to say how many devices or tests it was producing per day, but the technology company aims to have produced 1m tests by the end of the year.
The company added that optimised software will in the next few weeks further reduce the time to result of the sars-cov-2 test on positive samples, from the current 39 minutes.
Bosch is one of the biggest german companies to push into the covid-19 testing market. the announcement was welcomed by angela merkels government, as some regions in germany struggle with large backlogs for the processing of covid-19 tests.
Over the next few months, we will be confronted with the particular challenge of having to test more people, said anja karliczek, germanys minister for education and research.
The improved testing procedure developed byboschwith the [government agencys] support has the potential to be a tremendous help with this complex job.
In august, us pharmaceutical company abbott announced it had received emergency authorisation for a test that can deliver a result in 15 minutes. however, abbotts test detects antigens, a method more likely to miss an active coronavirus infection compared to molecular tests, according to the fda. abbotts product has a sensitivity of 97.1 per cent, and specificity of 98.5 per cent, according to a clinical study it commissioned.
Bosch said its test, developed in conjunction with german diagnostics company r-biopharm, is now available in europe through partners including uk-based randox laboratories, germanys aprimeo and italys arrow diagnostics.