A new, faster type of coronavirus test


The University of Liège is developing a new automated test to detect Covid-19 which will enable thousands of additional tests to be carried out every day.

Unlike the current automated tests used to identify those suffering from the virus, whether they are sick or asymptomatic carriers, this new process is less dependent on the "reagents" which are at risk of shortages. 

As one of the method's designers and Vice-Rector for Research at ULiège, Fabrice Bureau explains, "There are two ways to extract the genetic material from the virus. A manual, cumbersome and time consuming approach or a faster, automated approach but requiring five reagents which were all unavailable. We have managed to synthesise these five reagents."

This automated technique which is fast and, most importantly, reliable is now allowing the ULiège team to carry out 2,000 tests a day to identify carriers of the virus. And, according to the same researcher, the figure of 40,000 tests may be achieved in the very near future.

This new technique should quickly be adopted at the other four reference centres, i.e. GSK, UCB, Janssen Pharmaceutica and KULeuven, and by other countries.

It is therefore another step forward in the current number one objective to implement mass screening.