A university in northwestern Turkey has developed a coronavirus test that produces results in just eight minutes, experts announced Tuesday.
Mustafa Kemal Sezgintürk, a lecturer at Çanakkale Onsekiz Mart University's Bioengineering Department, said the new test kit can deliver faster and more reliable results than similar tests around the world.
University Rector Sedat Murat said the most important part of the project was that the test is the first of its kind not only in Turkey but also in the rest of the world.
"There are only antibody tests in the world. The accuracy rate varies at 63% in PCRs (Polymerase chain reaction). In other words, there is a margin of error of around 40%, but with this test results can be obtained with 100% accuracy and within a short time, like five to 10 minutes," Murat said.
The test also determines whether one has had COVID-19 earlier, he added.
Sezgintürk said the team had been conducting research, with the university's resources, since mid-March.
"The product of our project has become a kit that produces results in a very short time in eight minutes and gives much more accurate results than the ones currently on the market," he said.
"We're about to complete our work," he said. "In a few weeks, the optimization process for real blood samples will be completed. After that, hopefully, our kit will be ready for use."
Noting that they have begun efforts to start mass production of the kit, Sezgintürk said, "We have to patent the kit first."
"We'll also apply to our country's funding institutions. They had also given very substantial support in this regard," he said, adding that they planned to introduce the project to important funders, including development agencies and the Health Ministry.
Turkey's COVID-19 tally on Tuesday rose to 283,270, according to the Health Ministry.
The ministry data showed that 6,782 patients have so far lost their lives, while recoveries reached 253,245.
COVID-19 has claimed over 893,000 lives in 188 countries and regions since last December.
More than 27.4 million cases have been reported worldwide, including over 18.3 million patients who have recovered, according to figures compiled by the U.S.-based Johns Hopkins University.