A quick COVID test that plugs into your phone
Researchers at the University of Lille in France are developing a new portable COVID test that could provide results in just 10 minutes. The prototype CorDial-1 test is the size of a large USB stick and can be plugged into a smartphone.Professor Sabine Szunerits explains: “Somebody has to take a nasal swab of you, you will put the sample directly on the electrode, you can put the telephone on the table, you can have a coffee, some ice cream, even a shower and ten minutes later you come back.”The test works by using tiny antibody particles from the camelids – an animal family which includes llamas, camels, and alpacas. The nanobodies are grafted onto the surface of an electrode. When they come into contact with the COVID-19 virus ‘spike’ protein, the change in electrical current shows up as a signal on a graph on your phone.”You start up your mobile phone, a signal will appear, and depending on the height of the signal, you can say if you’re COVID positive or negative.”Other quick and portable COVID-19 tests also exist, but some scientists have raised doubts about their reliability.The CorDial-1 test is yet to be approved for use.But initial trials show a 90% accuracy rate compared to the trusted PCR tests, which take longer to deliver results and need lab conditions.The next phase of the project is to run a three-month trial on more than 1,000 people before manufacturing the device.