It’s been nearly a year since the world was devastated by the novel COVID-19 virus. Between the social distancing, lockdowns, curfews, sanitizers, and limited supplies, it goes without saying that the past few months have been extraordinarily difficult for everyone across the globe. Although we’ve all had our fair share of bad news for quite a while, medical technology (MedTech) companies are continually making advances and we may just have one of the largest breakthroughs yet: a COVID testing app.
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- What Is the New COVID Testing Software and How Does It Work?
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A MedTech company in Singapore has recently developed a portable COVID testing module that works in tandem with a computer app to detect whether or not someone has the virus. Best of all, the innovative solution does not require the need to send samples to a laboratory and await results; tests can be performed anywhere and results are delivered within minutes.
The MedTech app could have a profound positive impact on slowing down the pandemic, leading to significant advancements in the way people are diagnosed for the virus around the world and also promoting increased safety on a global level. Beyond COVID, the mass marketing of easy-to-use diagnostic testing apps could potentially lead to the early detection of other viruses and possibly prevent other pandemics in the future. In this blog, we take a look at this new MedTech software and what it could mean for the future of medicine, especially regarding the spread of highly contagious diseases.
What Is the New COVID Testing Software and How Does It Work?
Cell ID Pte. Ltd., a Singapore-incorporated MedTech company, recently released a small COVID-19 testing kit and compatible computer app that when used together, it can detect if someone has the virus. Using biotechnology, the technology, named the Quiz PCR Biochip, can perform two COVID tests at a time on the spot, without having to send the testee’s samples to a lab. Results are returned in as little as five minutes if the person tests positive for the virus, while negative results take roughly an hour.
The test is easy to perform, taking less than two hours of training time to learn how to administer it properly. Like most other COVID-19 tests, the person wishing to be tested will need to provide a nasal swab or saliva specimen. However, instead of sending those specimens to a lab, they are entered into the biochip.
When the biochip is connected to a computer, the MedTech app will run a diagnostic on the specimen to detect the presence of virus RNA. Two tests can run concurrently: a PCR (polymerase chain reaction) test, which is the usual method for detecting the presence of the virus that requires lab equipment, and an RT-LAMP (loop-mediated isothermal amplification) assay, which provides faster results and can accommodate a larger diagnostic capacity without the need for professional laboratory equipment.
The Quiz PCR Biochip has already been tested for accuracy in Singapore. And because anyone can be trained to use it, there’s no need to take time away from already busy healthcare professionals. Plus, the Biochip uses a unique “hot-swappable” method, which means that tests can be performed on demand without having to stop the computer each time a new sample is provided, unlike with traditional batch testing.
This nuanced diagnostic testing app is certainly making headlines, but perhaps the greatest achievement of this software lies in the fact that it has opened the door for other MedTech companies to potentially develop similar applications that can detect the presence of highly contagious pathogens (or lack thereof) in a testing subject in a manner of minutes. Below, we’ll explore the additional benefits of diagnostic testing apps in further detail.
What Are the Benefits of Diagnostic Testing MedTech Apps?
The Quiz PCR Biochip has brought to light an incredible opportunity for MedTech companies to potentially reduce the threat of contagious diseases. An on-demand testing application can mean huge advancements in the detection of a virus (not just COVID) and significantly reduce its ability to spread. Plus, it can save healthcare workers and patients time in getting tested, reduce the amount of medical professionals who are exposed to contagious pathogens while checking patients in person, as well as lower the costs associated with performing complex laboratory tests.
As we’ve already seen with coronavirus, during the initial stages of a new virus, testing is usually a hot commodity. For instance, in the case of COVID-19, as of right now, only a select number of locations offer free testing, and those that do are usually drive-by sites that require people to wait in their cars for several hours before they can actually be tested. If you don’t have a vehicle, there are some places that offer walk-up testing, but those are even more limited.
Most other options require people to pay upfront, either through their insurance premiums or out of pocket. Since some testing sites are charging upwards of $100 per test (and might even require people to be symptomatic), many people are discouraged from getting tested because they can’t pay the costs.
If diagnostic testing MedTech apps become a thing, it can mean faster and cheaper testing for everyone, and we might be better prepared for the next pandemic (or even prevent another one from happening).
A Look at What May Be In Store for the Future of MedTech Regarding Diagnostic Testing Apps
The Quiz PCR Biochip COVID test is just the beginning. If this MedTech app becomes available around the world, there’s a good chance the algorithm behind it will evolve and that other medical companies will create similar testing apps that can be adapted to detect numerous other viruses and diseases. Perhaps we might even be looking at a host of other diagnostic apps that allow testing to be performed by users themselves from the comfort of their own homes for free with real-time results.
Daily self-testing can severely reduce the risk of transmission, as users will know if they are sick as soon as the app reveals a positive result. This is especially beneficial since many people who are positive for COVID and other diseases are asymptomatic and may be interacting with other people, perhaps even without wearing a mask, and not even realize they are still contagious and spreading the virus.
If self-diagnostic testing apps do become accessible for user download via iOS or Android app stores, even if users have to pay a small fee, the savings are still far greater than what people are currently paying to take tests at healthcare facilities. Plus, users will be able to test repeatedly throughout the day as they desire.