Racing to rapidly test COVID-19

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A hand using a COVID-19 testing kit

Thanks to a team based in Chelmsford, Essex, we can now rapidly test for COVID-19 in thirty minutes or less.

Not satisfied, this team led by qPCR expert Prof Stephen Bustin, is developing an ‘extreme’ testing method to detect the virus in less than five minutes. 

qPCR technology extracts coronavirus RNA, a molecule similar to DNA that codes and creates proteins, from nose swab samples. If there is virus in the sample, it multiplies the RNA to detectable levels that specialised machines can read—a process that took hours before this Chelmsford-born innovation. 

In this talk, Stephen shares how these revolutionary techniques were developed and what it means for managing our current and future pandemics. 

As the UK and the globe begin to re-open, the implications this tech has for travel, work and life are huge.

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