Researchers develop new test kit to detect coronavirus in 15 mins
By Guo Meiping

A team led by Chinese respiratory expert Zhong Nanshan has developed a new test kit which is able to test the novel coronavirus infection in about 15 minutes. 

The study was published on Journal of Medical Virology.

Although nucleic acid tests have become the standard method diagnosing the novel coronavirus infection, it can normally take hours and have a high false negative rate, researchers said in the study.

Therefore, they developed a new test kit that can detect the IgM and IgG antibodies simultaneously against the new virus in human blood in 15 minutes, and it can detect patients at different infection stages.

IgM (Immunoglobulin M) is the largest and first antibody to appear in the course of an infection. Thus, the infection can be confirmed if there is IgM (not from vaccine) detected.

Researchers measured the clinical detection sensitivity and specificity of the test kit by using blood samples from different types of venous and fingerstick collected from 397 novel coronavirus pneumonia (COVID-19) patients confirmed by nucleic acid tests, and the overall testing sensitivity was 88.66 percent and specificity was 90.63 percent.

The results indicated that the IgM-IgG combined test has better utility and sensitivity compared with a single IgM or IgG test, and researchers said that it can be used for rapid screening of the novel coronavirus carriers amid the outbreak.

(Top image: The detection sensitivity and specificity of the novel coronavirus IgG-IgM combined antibody reagent. /Journal of Medical Virology)