Sacramento-area company develops antibody test to detect COVID-19 in minutes

California

RANCHO CORDOVA, Calif. (KTXL) — With a single prick of the finger, a Rancho Cordova company says it will be able to test patients for COVID-19 in mere minutes.

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“From the point that you have your blood dropped, three minutes later you know the results,” Philip Coelho, the chief technology officer at ThermoGenesis Corp., told FOX40.

Coelho said ThermoGenesis Corp. has been working on this rapid antibody test since November, when they first learned of the new coronavirus.

“Antibody testing is not new with us,” Coelho said. “So, the rush was to get kits that would accurately and solely detect this virus.”

With these kits, a medical professional will collect a small sample of blood from your fingertip. They then mix the blood with a reagent before putting five drops onto a paper cartridge, which tests for two different blood antibodies.

“If they show up, it means you have been infected,” Coelho said.

What really sets this test apart is that it will not only be able to identify people who currently have the virus, it shows whether they have ever been infected.

It’s still not 100% clear whether people infected with the virus previously will have immunity, but scientists believe they may.

“All the other coronaviruses have had that,” Coelho said. “The other flus have had that.”

If that’s the case, this test could be your ticket back to work.

“If you know you were infected with the virus, that means it’s safe for you to go out. You can leave your house. You’re not going to get infected again and you’re not going to infect someone else,” Coelho said.

The kits are still being tested, but the Food and Drug Administration is fast-tracking products related to the virus.

“So, they’re particularly interested in encouraging the types technologies that will help assist a safe transition back to a working state of the country,” Coelho said.

 He hopes to have their kits on the market by the end of the month.

At first, the kits will only be sold to medical professionals, but the company is hoping to make them available to the general public eventually with some sort of supervision.

They’ll each cost around $30.

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