On Monday, the Israeli health ministry introduced an all-new PCR testing system that would swiftly cut 5 hours of diagnosis time taken to test whether a sample is COVID positive.
Run by robots and soon to be administered across hospitals and labs in the coming weeks, will reduce the wait time for coronavirus test results from eight hours to four hours. Along with the overall test time, the new test will also considerably lower the time required to transfer the sample to the test tube. While usually, it takes about an hour to transfer the sample to a sub-test tube, with the robot, which does not need a sub-test tube, the transfer process in the lab will take about five minutes.
“Israeli technology is breaking records time and time again. Even now, the world will be able to see the shortcut as risk-reducing, more efficient and, no less important, based entirely on Israeli products,” said Health Minister Yuli Edelstein. “I thank the Laboratories Division of the Health Ministry and the Prime Minister’s Office for assisting in this matter.”
Apart from the shortened transfer process, the time taken to neutralize the virus will also be shortened from an hour to 40 minutes. In the case of other kits that have been made globally, the production of nucleic acid used in PCR (polymerase chain reaction) tests takes three hours. But this time is also cut down remarkably in this specially-curated Israeli system, in which the process only takes about an hour and 15 minutes, at the most. This being the case, the test itself will be cutting down on time exponentially from the usual two hours to one, whilst the software will display results in just ten seconds, as opposed to the half an hour that it currently requires globally. The new testing kits are now entirely Israeli-made in contrast to the old kits which were mostly from outside Israel. The new software for displaying results is also Israeli-made.
Alongside this particular test that is slated to be used within the coming few weeks, a number of more rapid coronavirus tests have been developed by Israel or with Israeli participation, including a gargle test developed by Virusight Diagnostic and a 30-second coronavirus test being jointly developed by India and Israel.
Apart from the research and development initiatives in the testing avenue, Israel has also successfully begun its human trials for what seems to be a strong contender of the coronavirus vaccine.