Japanese startup, university develop 2-minute COVID-19 test

Mar 16 , 2021. 11 hours ago – 22:43 KYODO NEWS

Takeshi Kinjo (L), an assistant professor of the University of the Ryukyus, briefs on a new method to detect coronavirus infection in a press conference at the university in the town of Nishihara, Okinawa Prefecture, on March 15, 2021. (Kyodo)

NAHA , Japan – A Japanese biotechnology startup said Monday it has developed jointly with a university in Okinawa a new method to detect novel coronavirus infection as fast as in two minutes.

The test developed by Mytech Inc. based in Kobe, western Japan and the University of the Ryukyus makes the virus visible through a microscope using fluorescent markers, according to the company.

A polymerase chain reaction test, the widely used method to detect coronavirus infection, needs several hours to amplify DNA samples to an amount needed for a genetic analysis.

An antigen test, another popular COVID-19 test, is not as accurate as the PCR method.

In its clinical experiment, 72 to 94 percent of the new method’s results matched those of the PCR test, it said.

The company hopes to commercialize an automated testing device in time for the Tokyo Olympics opening in July.

“The method is fast and simple. It will be extremely effective for diagnosing many people at once,” said Takeshi Kinjo, an assistant professor at the university.