We’ve heard it time and again – we need more testing. It’s completely reasonable to expect that increased testing will help us better understand COVID-19 and reduce its spread. But, it’s not just testing alone – it’s also the speed of testing that’s a huge factor. If it takes several days to get test results, that’s a long time for carriers to pass the virus on to others – especially asymptomatic carriers who have no real reason to think they need to quarantine themselves.
So how do we get from up to a week for test results to something that can have a very meaningful positive impact on the ability to react rapidly to new cases? Israeli firm Picodya Technologies may have an answer.
Picodya says its B-Matrix system is able to perform large-scale, low-cost serological testing in as little as 15-20 minutes and can run serological immunoessays on 5-50 people per hour. Picodya has four working prototypes and plans on building 5-10 more in the next several months.
With this rate of testing, Picodya can significantly reduce the backlog of test results and even enable rapid testing in many critical locations, including healthcare facilities, labs, airports, cruise terminals, military bases, and other facilities where rapid testing could avoid mass outbreaks. What’s also important is that the B-Matrix system can not only run tests on multiple patients, but it can also run an entire panel of tests at once from a very small blood sample (just a few drops) checking not only for COVID-19, but other respiratory diseases as well, like the flu.
The benefits to communities, businesses, and healthcare organizations include:
- Real-time monitoring in the community for rapid differentiation between infected and healthy residents.
- Serological panel can be expanded to include other diseases or new viral serotypes as needed.
- Single sample required for a full panel of tests, even if the panel is expanded.
- No need for complex logistics to transport samples.
- Reduced load on central labs, enabling them to focus on identifying infected individuals.
Picodya has won three grants from the Israel Innovation Authority, and a $10 million investment led by Southern Israel Bridging Fund (SIBF). Its prototype is being tested by The Israel Institute for Biological Research.
Check out how it works:
While it may still be in the testing stages, a solution to provide test results in minutes as opposed to days could be a game-changer when it comes to managing and controlling COVID-19 or any other virus. By delivering results in minutes, positive cases can be identified before they have a chance to infect others in schools, businesses, transportation centers, or any other facilities. Instead of relying on self-assessments of COVID-19 symptoms, B-Matrix could allow businesses to base their strategies on real test results.