The coronavirus outbreak has brought many challenges for the healthcare sector across the world, which is struggling under the growing number of cases. A key part of their work is now focused on diagnosing as many patients as quickly as possible -- and technology is emerging to help our doctors out.
Nevertheless, most tests take up to three days to provide the results. That’s why many companies and countries are looking for potential solutions. The German consortium Bosch has just developed a new, fully automated rapid test for COVID-19, which can provide results in just two and a half hours.
“We want the Bosch rapid COVID-19 test to play a part in containing the coronavirus pandemic as quickly as possible. It will speed up the identification and isolation of infected patients,” said Dr. Volkmar Denner, chairman of the board of management of Bosch.
The test, which will be available in April in Germany and then in other markets, was developed in just six weeks by Bosch. It runs on the Vivalytic analysis device from Bosch Healthcare Solutions and, according to the company, it’s the first fully automatized procedure to test for COVID-19.
The test can be done directly at the hospital or health center, eliminating the need to transport samples, which can take more time. This adds certainty to patients eager to know about their state of health, allowing hospitals to identify and isolate them much faster than possible now.
“Time is of the essence in the fight against coronavirus. Reliable, rapid diagnosis directly on-site with no back and forth – that is the great advantage of our solution, which we see as another example of technology that is ‘Invented for life,” Denner said in a statement.
Bosch’s test not only works for COVID-19 but also tests the other nine respiratory diseases simultaneously, such as influenza A and B. In laboratory tests with coronavirus, the test had results with an accuracy of over 95%, meeting the quality standards of the World Health Organization (WHO).
The test is used by taking a swab from the patient’s nose or throat and then inserting the cartridge, already containing the reagents required for the test, in Bosch’s analyzer – which is meant to be user friendly so more medical personnel can use it. Each analyzer can do ten tests in 24 hours.
“The special feature of the Bosch test is that it offers differential diagnosis, which saves doctors the additional time needed for further tests. It also provides them with a reliable diagnosis quickly so they can then begin suitable treatment faster,” says Marc Meier, president of Bosch
Similar initiatives can be found in other countries. In the US, for example, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved new tests that can deliver a COVID-19 diagnosis in only 45 minutes. The test was developed by Cepheid, a California diagnosing company, and it will be sent to hospitals from next week.