August 23, 2021 | By Bronwen Largier
A new rapid COVID-19 test could help events and venues navigate the forthcoming COVID-normal phase of the pandemic that Australia’s Prime Minister Scott Morrison has been pushing.
Researchers at the University of Birmingham have confirmed that the “Exponential Amplification Reaction” test is just as sensitive as PCR (Polymerase Chain Reaction) tests, which are considered the gold standard in Australia. Until now, rapid-response COVID-19 tests have not been as accurate as PCR tests.
The new test, known as RTF-EXPAR, can generate a result in under 10 minutes and uses benchtop laboratory equipment, increasing the portability of testing. PCR tests require a laboratory setting to process.
The test itself was also created at the University of Birmingham, applying existing EXPAR technology to detect COVID-19. Researchers are now looking for commercial partners to make the test widely available.
This kind of test could be used by event organisers and venues as an efficient means to prevent anyone with COVID-19 entering a large gathering. Measures like this are likely to be needed even once high vaccination coverage is achieved in Australia and in other countries as it is still possible to have COVID-19 and pass it on once vaccinated.