A joint venture between Taiwan and Denmark, BluSense Diagnostics, announced today that they have created a COVID-19 test that can detect the virus in even asymptomatic subjects in as little as 12 minutes, reports Taiwan News.
The company found the test to be 90 percent accurate in limited testing at Hvidovre Hospital, Denmark’s second largest hospital. The company will conduct a larger clinical trial in Italy next week.
The test can also detect at which stage of the disease a subject is in, as the tests reacts to two different antibodies that are present during early, middle and late stages of infection.
If proven effective, the test will be able to be used to help clear people from quarantine, provide results for travelers, trace close contacts of patients and help take care of the backlog of tests which currently require at least 3 days to get results.
“BluSense 's rapid and accurate detection technology,” said the company at the announcement, “can assist in performing a large number of community backtracking, diagnosis of asymptomatic patients and screening travel history personnel, greatly reducing the pressure on medical inspection personnel.”
BluSense specializes in infectious disease detection.
Currently it’s not clear if the company has plans for a US clinical trial.
NBCNews reports that Quest Diagnostics, one of the largest testing companies in the US has a backlog of 80,000 tests currently.
The problem is that US regulatory scheme prevents even the most benign medical test from making its way into the market in less than 2 years. This test requires one drop of blood.
Taiwan, however, has had practice with other infectious diseases that have spread from Mainland China, most notably the SARS infection, and has subsequently tamed its bureaucracy.
Because SARS “killed dozens of people in Taiwan after spreading from southern China,” reports the Guardian.com, “Taiwan has access to more advanced technologies this time around.”
Also, Taiwan was quick to act, and slow to believe official data coming out of the Mainland’s ruling Chinese Communist Party.
Because of previous experience, Taiwan closed the borders with Mainland China quickly, instituted screening early and prescribed self-quarantine for anyone with symptoms. With the exception of foreign trade disruptions caused by other countries, Taiwan’s economy is functioning normally and open for business.
Taiwan has only recorded 379 cases of COVID-19 -- a rate of 16 per million people -- and 5 deaths from COVID-19 -- a rate of 0.2 per million people. The US has 1,264 cases per million people and 43 deaths per million, so far.
Taiwan, an island located south of Mainland China, is where anti-communist forces evacuated to when the Communists overtook most of China in 1949. Today, despite being the one of the largest foreign direct investors in Mainland China, Taiwan is the center of an continued controversy that includes COVID-19.
While Taiwan is supported by the US, Taiwanese sovereignty is a sore spot with Chinese Communists who don’t recognize it as an independent country. Instead the Communist Party line is that all “Chinese” territory outside of the Mainland, including Hong Kong and Taiwan, must revert to Chinese Communist control.