20-second Covid test to be distributed across the UK and Europe

A freshly approved and fully recyclable 20-second Covid-19 test is set to be distributed across the UK and Europe, London-based distribution company HISTATE has said this morning.

The rapid test, known as Virolens, has been approved by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) for use and sale in the UK. 

The trials show a 98.1 per cent test sensitivity, which means there is a 0.9 per cent chance of a false negative, and a 99.7 per cent specificity which signals only a 0.3 per cent chance of a false positive. 

HISTATE, which will distribute the testing system throughout Europe in the coming months, said that these results are the ‘minimum baseline’, and could even be more accurate.

“These figures are derived from trial data provided to MHRA, however, we believe that in practice the accuracy figures will be significantly higher,” a HISTATE spokesperson told City A.M.

The ability to provide results in 20 seconds could push the pedal on the UK’s roadmap for the lifting of Covid-19 restrictions. 

Designed and manufactured by UK-based AI specialists iAbra, the test combines imaging, holographic microscopy with AI, and will be the most accurate test available so far. 

The tests will involve a saliva swab of the cheeks, instead of through the nose and tonsils. 

Cartridges used in the tests are also fully recyclable and can be repurposed after being decontaminated.

“British designed and built, this new test shows that the UK can continue to play a major part in the global fight against Covid-19 and help to get the world moving again,” HISTATE director, Joss Bassett, said.

“The speed of the test, alongside the vaccine rollout, brings a return to normality within tangible reach, making the reopening of the economy and tourism safer for everyone.”

According to the distributor, the AI used for the Virolens test can learn to detect other pathogens, diseases and infections beyond Covid-19.