A MEDICAL firm unveiled a new coronavirus test which it claims can provide results within 20 minutes.

Michael Andreou, managing director of Horsham company OptiGene, said its simple diagnostic test could mean healthcare workers could process 300 tests per hour on a single testing instrument.

“The company plans to discuss the assay, the diagnostic system and its application with Public Health England in the next 24 hours,” he said.

“This test could be rapidly deployed around the UK and other British territories to significantly increase the UK’s capacity to diagnose Covid-19.”


OptiGene claims its testing method is much faster than current diagnostic techniques as it can determine whether a patient has coronavirus using a nasal and throat swab.

The most common testing method is the polymerase chain reaction, which involves extracting a small amount of DNA-like RNA from a patient.

The RNA is then heated and cooled alternately until it multiples into a big enough sample to examine.

But OptiGene says this procedure is more expensive and time-consuming than its own method, a version of a procedure called loop-mediated isothermal amplification.

This chemical method is cheaper as it only requires a constant temperature to multiply RNA while still getting the same results.

Managing director Mr Andreou said the chemicals needed for OptiGene’s test, known as reagents, are in plentiful supply.

“This specific and extremely sensitive test can operate directly from nasal and throat swabs to produce results in less than 20 minutes,” he said.

“This test has been developed in the UK and all of the reagents are manufactured here.

“OptiGene’s LAMP Covid-19 test has now passed validation and is ready to be utilised.”

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