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Non-invasive, 20min COVID test-kits out in U.S., world soon

Tue 29 Sep 2020    
| 2 min read

U.S. President Donald Trump has announced that a non-invasive coronavirus test that delivers results in 15-20 minutes, is to be rolled out across the state.

The test-kit is also headed to scores of poorer countries, as global health authorities scramble to contain the disease in lieu of deaths crossing 1 million figures worldwide.

Around 150 million tests are to be distributed solely in America, while the World Health Organization said 120 million more would soon be available for the developing world at $5 each as long as funding was secured.

The kits come in a time where the virus shows no signs of toppling, with infections racking up on the scale as Europe faces its second wave and leaders scramble to curb the spread while also tackling the economical lows.

Paris, London and Madrid have all been forced to introduce controls to slow infections, and on Monday Dutch authorities became the latest to tighten curbs, while the Czech Republic and Slovakia said they were preparing to declare a state of emergency.

The kits are far faster, cheaper and easier to administer than regular swab tests but are less sensitive and more likely to return false negatives.

The WHO said its $600 million scheme is set to roll out the quick diagnosis kits across 133 countries in the next six months, and would enable low- and middle-income nations to close the gap in testing with the rich world.

Experts have for months been calling for widespread adoption of this low-cost technology so that people can test themselves several times a week.

Harvard epidemiologist Michael Mina said the testing drive “is terrific and is a great start”.

But the amount being distributed by the US government was “simply not sufficient” and production should be multiplied ten- or twentyfold, he added.

The tests are part of a limited toolkit available to governments as they seek ways to get the wheels turning on economies that have been crippled in recent months by lockdowns and other restrictions on people’s lives.

Worldwide the virus has now infected more than 33 million people and killed over a million, according to an AFP tally compiled from official sources.

On Monday the number of cases in India surpassed six million, with the country on course to overtake the United States in the coming weeks as the nation with the most infections – but also the most recoveries.

Locals in Delhi said while they remained cautious, their fears had lessened since the pandemic began earlier this year.

Himanshu Kainthola, 61, who recovered from the virus last month, said his family’s worries had “reduced substantially”.

“We take the necessary precautions and invest in increasing our immunity rather than being anxious or scared of it,” he said. “We have made peace with it.”

[Sourced from Agencies]