Written by Conor Hale
Two British companies are preparing to launch a simple COVID-19 saliva screening test that aims to provide an accurate result within 20 seconds—following its first uses at London’s Heathrow airport, one of the busiest in the world.
The Virolens device, developed by iAbra, uses a digital microscope and artificial intelligence-powered software to visually search a mouth swab sample for signs of the novel coronavirus.
The machine provides a low-cost, repeatable and self-administered method of screening, allowing hundreds of cartridge-based tests to be performed each day, according to iAbra’s manufacturing partner TT Electronics. Validation studies by the University of Bristol have pegged the system’s false-negative rate of 0.2%, alongside a false-positive rate of 3.3%.
The Virolens device underwent its first rounds of field testing among Heathrow employees, and its developers are now planning full clinical trials to gain certifications for medical use.
Read more here.