A test developed by Monash University in Australia is able to detect positive coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) cases using blood samples in approximately 20 minutes, according to a press release.1

The test is intended to determine whether someone is currently infected with COVID-19 and if they have been infected in the past.2

"Short-term applications include rapid case identification and contact tracing to limit viral spread, while population screening to determine the extent of viral infection across communities is a longer-term need," said the researchers in a paper published in the journal ACS Sensors.2  

The test uses 25 microliters of plasma from blood samples and looks for agglutination, or a clustering of red blood cells caused by COVID-19. Whereas current swab tests are used to identify individuals who are currently positive for COVID-19, the agglutination assay can determine whether someone had been recently infected once the infection is resolved, according to the press release. Additionally, the assay could potentially be used to detect antibodies raised in response to vaccination to aid in clinical trials, according to the study authors.1

According to the researchers, hundreds of samples can be tested every hour. Further, a patent for the innovation has been filed and the researchers are seeking commercial and government support to scale up production.2

This innovation could help health care professionals test up to 200 blood samples an hour, according to the press release. At hospitals that are capable of having high-grade diagnostic machines, more than 700 blood samples could be tested hourly, or approximately 16,800 each day, according to the study authors.1

  1. Breakthrough blood test detects positive COVID-19 result in 20 minutes. ScienceDaily. https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2020/07/200717101037.htm. Published July 17, 2020. Accessed July 21, 2020.
  2. Australian researchers invent 20-minute coronavirus blood test. US News. https://www.usnews.com/news/top-news/articles/2020-07-17/australian-researchers-invent-20-minute-coronavirus-blood-test. Published July 17, 2020. Accessed July 21, 2020.