Israeli scientist develops game-changing 1-minute coronavirus test

An Israeli scientist has developed an almost instantaneous method of testing for the coronavirus that uses samples from the breath or nose swabs to identify carriers and produces results in under a minute.

Ben-Gurion University of the Negev Prof. Gabby Sarusi has developed an affordable breath test based on spectroscopy, the university announced Wednesday.

In clinical trials done in conjunction with the Defense Ministry, Sarusi’s device achieved 90 percent accuracy based on a sample of 120 Israelis, of whom 45 percent were infected and 55 percent were healthy. Its rate of false positives and false negatives were 5 percent each.

No current tests are 100 percent accurate – neither swab tests from nose and throat based on polymerase chain reaction (PCR) technology; nor tests for coronavirus antibody in the blood.

It uses a microchip and a type of electromagnetic waves known as terahertz radiation to detect minuscule changes in the sample caused by the virus’s presence.

Sample particles “are placed on a chip with a dense array of metamaterial sensors that was designed specifically for this purpose,” according to a press release.

“The system then analyzes the biological sample and provides an accurate positive/negative result within a minute via a cloud-connected system. The point-of-care device automatically backs up the results into a database that can be shared by authorities, making it easier than ever to track the course of the virus, as well as triage and treat patients.”

Earlier this month, the Israeli Ministry of Defense and the Israel Institute for Biological Research announced that a significant breakthrough has been achieved in finding an antidote to the coronavirus, which attacks the virus and can neutralize it in the sick body.

According to the Institute’s researchers, “the antibody development phase is over. A goal for international companies to produce the antibody in commercial quantities.”