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Covid-19 'nudge' test that gives results in 90 minutes could help combat winter surge
18 September 2020, 06:33 | Updated: 18 September 2020, 06:53
Scientists say a portable Covid-19 test which aims to diagnose the disease in 90 minutes could make a "huge difference" in hospitals in the winter.
The test, called CovidNudge, has been shown to correctly identify 94 percent of positive cases - and doesn't need to go to a lab.
It is being used across eight London hospitals and could be rolled out at a national level.
It was designed by DnaNudge, an Imperial College London spinout company, and can be performed by the patient's bedside, without requiring the use of a laboratory.
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The process involves collecting nasal and throat swabs from patients and placing them on to a cartridge which goes into a shoebox-sized machine known as NudgeBox for analysis.
The device then looks for traces of genetic material belonging to the coronavirus.
Last month, the UK government placed a £161 million order for 5.8 million cartridges and 5,000 NudgeBox machines.
Each machine has the ability to process up to 15 tests on the spot each day.
Graham Cooke, professor of infectious diseases at Imperial College London, evaluated the results of the tests performed on 386 NHS staff and patients using CovidNudge.
The findings have been published in the journal Lancet Microbe.
He described the CovidNudge testing kit as a "useful part of the whole puzzle for diagnostics".
He said: "This [the test] is particularly well suited for clinical settings when you are trying to make a rapid decision for a patient.
"For example, we had a patient from last week who had a new diagnosis of Covid.
"We were able to get the diagnosis confirmed within two hours of arriving and start remdesivir and dexamethadone [drugs used to treat severe Covid-19] on that basis - much quicker than we would have been able to with confidence without that."
The test is being used across eight London hospitals and is expected to be rolled out at a national level.