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Distinguishing COVID-19 from influenza with rapid 15 minute diagnostics

16 months
Approved budget:
Mr John Mackay
Dr Erasmus Smit
Dr Sheng Chiong Hong
Dr Patrick Gladding
Associate Professor Graham Wilson
Health issue:
Infectious disease
Proposal type:
Lay summary
Diagnostic testing is critical for the containment of COVID-19 and other infectious diseases. Due to the current complexity of the tests and thus capacity limits, testing is typically limited to those meeting certain threshold criteria. In addition, test results may take up to 48 hours to be returned to parts of NZ by the time samples reach the lab, the work completed and the results returned. Therefore the danger exists that a disease will spread faster than the testing can help isolate positive cases. This work aims to develop rapid (15 minute) molecular diagnostics that can be performed anywhere without the need for DNA instrumentation. Results will be collected and reported centrally via a smart phone app for further followup and confirmation. Such a method will be amenable to any new virus to ensure rapid and consistent diagnostics can be performed anywhere in New Zealand within a short timeframe.