Pinprick blood tests that detect COVID-19 in just minutes are coming to Australia within days.
Melbourne diagnostic company Endo X and ASX-listed biotech company Cellmid are among several companies that have signed import agreements with Chinese manufacturers to deliver rapid COVID-19 tests into Australia.
Cellmid says its testing kits from Guangzhou Wondfo Biotech Co only require the “most basic of laboratory equipment” and just involve a finger prick, delivering results in three minutes for positive results and up to 15 minutes for negative ones.
Cellmid described the tests as a “small disposable kit” that is stable at room temperature for a year and could easily be used in mobile testing centres.
Endo X meanwhile is bringing in 500,000 similar blood tests from VivaCheck Biotech (Hangzhou) Co Ltd, and says they will go to hospitals, GP clinics, pathology centres and testing centres this week.
Both tests look for antibodies in a few drops of blood and are much quicker and less expensive than the polymerase chain reaction (PRC) tests that use nasal swabs and take days to deliver results.
Endo X says its VivaCheck test is 94.6 per cent accurate from four to 10 days of the patient developing symptoms and 99.3 per cent accurate after 11 to 24 days.
Sydney-based Complete Corporate Wellness has also begun offering companies and organisations rapid testing so their employees can return to work.
“COVID-19 Rapid test is carried out onsite by medical professionals,” the company’s website says.
“We nominate a day where employees can attend their appointment. During testing days we have strict hygiene and infection control protocols that we follow.”
The pinprick tests are by USA company CTK Biotech and similarly return results in about 15 minutes.
Australia’s Therapeutic Goods Administration has approved 14 different COVID-19 tests, both laboratory-based and point-of-care, according to its website.
So far there are no tests that allow consumers to test themselves directly, however.