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International Internet Magazine. Baltic States news & analytics Wednesday, 27.01.2021, 21:48

University of Tartu, Selfdiagnostics developing COVID-19 rapid test

BC, Tallinn, 05.05.2020.Print version
The University of Tartu in cooperation with Selfdiagnostics, a medical equipment research and development company, are developing a rapid SARS-Cov-2 test in Estonia enabling to detect infection more quickly and at a lower price, reports LETA/BNS.

The new rapid test will significantly increase testing capacity and deliver greater resource efficiency. The project has been awarded the EIT Health product development grant by the European Institute of Innovation and Technology.

The conronavirus pandemic has claimed thousands of lives and, according to assessments by the international scientific community, the virus may again cause mass outbreaks during the fall influenza season. For that reason, it is important to increase testing capability outside central laboratories and hospitals to prepare for a possible new spike in infections. 

The rapid test in development does not require any large equipment or special facilities, thus providing a pocket lab solution, which guarantees mobile testing capability based on the polymerase chain reaction (PCR) technique. The rapid test will help alleviate the burden on central testing systems and respond to exceptionally high testing needs. The solution can be used by specialized and family doctors alike, as well as by pharmacists and care home medical staff.

"Similarly to existing methods, the test identifies the presence of virus RNA in a nasal swab, providing a reliable tool for detecting infection," Kaido Kurrikoff, senior researcher at the University of Tartu Institute of Technology, said.

"The purpose of this research project is to launch the rapid test already this fall to help prepare for the next pandemic. The use of the technology will provide greater independence during a time when supply chains may be interrupted due to an emergency situation, thus such a capability and resource will help ensure the national security and economic sustainability," CEO of Selfdiagnostics Marko Lehis said.

Selfdiagnostics OU is an Estonian capital based developer and producer of medical equipment. The company has been developing medical diagnostics methods and equipment in cooperation with the University of Tartu Institute of Technology for over ten years. The project team includes Selfdiagnostics' academic and industrial partners as well as international experts. The development of the coronavirus rapid test is financed by the EIT Health community of the European Institute of Innovation and Technology.

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