WAITING a number of days to receive your COVID-19 test results could soon be a thing of the past, with a newly developed screening device promising to deliver results in just 20 seconds.
The 'Virolens' device will be launched globally on Friday, following a successful three-week trial at Heathrow Airport in London.
British start-up company iAbra led the development of the device, which tests samples using imagery rather than biology.
Virolens is a simple saliva test which its maker claim delivers "99.8 per cent sensitivity and 96.7 per cent specificity".
Currently, biologically-based gold standard polymerase chain reaction laboratory tests are being utilised, which can take several days for results to be finalised.
The new device, which was developed in just 21 weeks, boasts a 20 second result time thanks to "microscopic holographic imaging and artificial intelligence software technology".
It works by the user swabbing their tongue, putting their sample into a cartridge, inserting that cartridge into a machine, then being displayed a red or green light depending on the test result.
Virolens has the capability to "see" 10 molecules of the virus in a single saliva sample, compared to the approximate 500 needed for a conventional PCR test.
During a validation study, the Virolens system was claimed to pick out the specific number of COVID viral cells in and amongst 13 million other human cells.
Australian company, KeyOptions, has the distribution rights for the product in Asia, south-east Asia and Latin America.