AN IRISH company has developed a brand new coronavirus test, which is due to be sent out to China this week.
The test is unique in that it quickly and efficiently differentiates Covid-19 from as many as nine other respiratory infections, which can produce very similar symptoms.
It was developed by Randox Laboratories, a company with bases in Co. Donegal and Co. Antrim.
Dr Peter FitzGerald, Managing Director of Randox Laboratories, said: "Current technologies being used to diagnose Covid-19 are focused on simply detecting the presence or lack of this singular strain and therefore neglect to differentiate it from other respiratory infections.
"At Randox we have developed a multiplex Viral Respiratory Infection Array that tests for COVID-19 and nine other infections simultaneously, and are delighted that this new technology will be deployed in Wuhan and other cities across China."
The new methodology was developed on a technology platform known as a Biochip.
The Coronavirus Biochip tests each single patient sample for the SARS-CoV-2 virus that causes COVID-19, as well as nine other respiratory viruses, including SARS, MERS, and Influenza A and B.
Medical professionals are then able to quickly distinguish between potentially lethal and non-lethal infections, prioritise the right patients, and administer the appropriate treatment.
"The Coronavirus Biochip will eliminate the need for multiple back-and-forth tests before the root cause of symptoms is found, thereby empowering clinicians to make faster and better-informed decisions," Dr Fitzgerald added.
"Randox is committed to saving and improving lives on a global scale and we know that this new COVID-19 test will make a significant contribution to the global coronavirus containment effort."