New device to revolutionise Australian COVID tests

test strip before 1200x900 1

The Australian government has approved a new device which will change the way workplaces can quickly test for COVID.

After a six-month wait, the Ecotest COVID-19 antigen saliva pen has been approved by the Therapeutic Goods Administration.

This will be the first test is the first rapid test which will not require a mouth and throat swab.

The device could be a far more cost-effective way for employers to test their workers quickly.

The government announced this week it was expanding the use of rapid antigen tests, with the TGA approving various fast-result kits which have already been in regular use overseas for months.

Employers would still need to hire a health practitioner to perform the tests or supervise staff trained to conduct them.

How do rapid tests work?

Unlike PCR tests, which look for genetic material from the virus, rapid antigen tests are designed to detect antigens, or proteins, found on the surface of the virus.

That means that instead of taking several hours or days to process, they can produce a result in just 15 to 30 minutes.

Rapid antigen tests are relatively inexpensive and work best in the early stages of infection when viral load is at its highest.

One of the major advantages of rapid tests is that they don't require the specialist lab equipment or scientific expertise that PCR tests do, which means they can be processed on the spot.