The fastest PCR test is Belgian


As reliable as a standard coronavirus PCR test, the PCR test developed by a Belgian company ensures a result in under 20 minutes.

This technological innovation is by miDiagnostics, a spin-off of IMEC, the Flemish interuniversity research institute in microelectronics and nanotechnologies, in research collaboration with the American university Johns Hopkins. As for all new medical procedures, it was initially the subject of a pilot study. This was conducted successfully over two months among 600 passengers transiting through Brussels Airport*.

Remember, at present, the results of standard PCR tests are obtained in three to 48 hours. But with this Belgian innovation, the wait is reduced to less than 20 minutes. This has been made possible by the miniaturisation of a process based on silicium technology (an electropositive metalloid extremely abundant in the earth's crust).

Although the samples continue to be collected by means of a nasal swab, highly promising results have also been obtained using a breath analyser prototype developed in parallel by Imec. Still in a pilot research phase, this procedure is much less unpleasant than the nasal swabs currently used. It too may be validated scientifically in the near future.

The ultra-fast test developed in Belgium will be marketed on a large-scale from April. This should facilitate procedures, especially at airports around the world.

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