Gauss, a computer vision startup, and Cellex, a biotech company working on diagnostics, announce the first rapid COVID-19 test that can be completely performed by people at home without involving a lab.
Because matter: Experts agree that the United States still needs much more widespread testing to help contain the coronavirus pandemic. An antigen test that could be done and deliver results quickly at home could help reduce test delays and allow people to quickly find out if they need to isolate themselves due to a COVID-19 infection.
How does it work: In the antigen test, which was developed by Cellex, a user will take a nasal swab on both nostrils, then place the swab in a small vial filled with a buffer solution.
- Four droplets from the tube are placed on a rapid test cassette and test lines will appear to vary in intensity, based on the presence and amount of virus in the sample.
- Users will then take a photo of the rapid test and the Gauss app will use AI to return the results ̵
Of note: Although other quick diagnoses have been developed that allow users to test themselves at home, those earlier methods still required people to send samples to a laboratory or health facility for processing.
- Guass / Cellex diagnostics would be the first test that can be completed at home.
- Cellex CEO James Li says the test demonstrates nearly 90% sensitivity – how often a test generates a correct positive result – compared to PCR tests and nearly 100% specificity, or how often it produces a correct negative result .
What’s important for managing the COVID-19 pandemic is that this is a tool that will allow people to self-monitor and isolate themselves.
– James Li
What to watch: If the FDA gives the new test an authorization for emergency use, that would allow it to get to market faster.
- There is also the question of price, although Li says that “our goal is to make this test as widely available as possible.”
The bottom line: Quick and easy tests at home would certainly help reduce the spread of COVID-19 and show how the pandemic has accelerated the advent of distributed medicine.