New COVID-19 test detects virus in under 2 hours, will be available to the public

CHICAGO, ILLINOIS - JUNE 23: Workers check in residents at a mobile COVID-19 testing site set up on a vacant lot in the Austin neighborhood on June 23, 2020 in Chicago, Illinois. The site is one of four mobile testing sites, two community-based sites and two first-responder-focused sites being implemented by the city. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) – A United Kingdom-based technology firm is set to roll out a coronavirus test that can diagnose infection within 90 minutes. 

Oxford’s Nanopore Technologies developed LamPORE calling it the “new generation of COVID-19” testing and announced today a partnership with the British government. It will be available to hospitals and other community health centers, businesses and schools as well as transportation hubs and pop-up labs across the country. The test will also be available to the public. Both pre-symptomatic and asymptomatic people will be tested in an effort to stop the spread of the virus. Nanopore aims to test 15,000 samples per day. 

The test involves a cheek swab and saliva is then tested by DNA/RNA sequencing. Nanopore’s sequencing method measures the changes in biological molecules that pass through a nanopore–a very small hole–in the body’s membranes to confirm or rule out COVID-19. 

“We are honored to be playing a part in fighting COVID-19 in the UK and preparing the country for the winter virus season,” said Gordon Sanghera, CEO of Oxford Nanopore in a news release. “LamPORE has the potential to deliver a highly effective and crucially accessible global testing solution not only for COVID-19 but for a range of other pathogens” 

The test might also have the capacity to detect the flu, but there is currently no data to support the test’s accuracy in terms of influenza and COVID-19 just yet. However, the company successfully used the same technology in previous outbreaks such as Zika, Ebola, Yellow Fever and the Swine Flu.

LamPORE is slated to be distributed as early as next week.

News 8’s medical reporter, Dr. Mary Elizabeth Gillis, D.Ed., is a classically trained medical physiologist and biobehavioral research scientist. She has been a health, medical and science reporter for over five years. Her work has been featured in national media outlets.