Queensland firm’s world-first 15min test kit
A BRISBANE company is poised to unleash up to 500,000 home tests for COVID-19 in a critical step towards winning the war against the deadly disease.
Promedical is on track to deliver the rapid test kits to the Australian Government on April 3.
The Brisbane company has obtained Therapeutic Goods Administration go-ahead, meaning distribution can be ramped up for immediate use by health and medical professionals.
With results in 15 minutes, it is a world first test for both the IgM and IgG antibodies that will prove crucial in gauging the number of Australians infected with the illness.
"When COVID-19 entered Australia, we immediately began looking for the best solution
to stop its spread and, for us, that was finding a way to speed up the testing and
reporting process," Promedical chief executive officer Neran De Silva said.
"The current RT-PCR test takes 24 hours to return results and in that time, patients with the disease had the potential to infect others and crucial health workers were sidelined.
"The COVID-19 Rapid Test Kit is a simple preliminary test that provides an accurate
indication of infection within 15 minutes, rather than 24 hours."
Mr De Silva claimed the company had also taken a large order from the US Government.
"The Rapid Test Kit provides immediate peace of mind for health and medical staff who
are exposed to COVID-19 daily," he said.
"They can be tested and back at work within 15 minutes; freeing up valuable treatment time."
The tests are currently available solely for wholesale to the Government, although Promedical is working on kits for retail sale.
The TGA is fast-tracking conditional approval for all tests related to COVID-19 because it is a public health emergency.
Dominic Dwyer, director of NSW Public Health Pathology based at Westmead Hospital, said there were a number of companies importing similar tests that will help medical authorities in the battle against coronavirus.
There are two types of testing: molecular, which diagnoses new patients through respiratory tract swabs, and antibody tests that ascertain whether or not people have developed antibodies to COVID-19.
The benefit of the Promedical test is that it will help officials find out how many Australians are infected and will be beneficial in the longer term.
"The sort of test this company is picking up is the antibodies so they are no good in the immediate diagnosis of someone who has got the infection," Prof Dwyer said.
"So therefore you wouldn't use an antibody test, you would use a molecular test in the first instance. These antibody tests are useful in understanding how many people end up getting sick with this virus and will be helpful in the long-term."
Originally published as Brisbane firm's world-first 15min test kit