A consortium of three universities and a pharma company in Japan will work to commercialize an inexpensive test method for COVID-19.

Shionogi & Co., a Japanese pharma company signed a licensing agreement with the Nihon University, Tokyo Medical University, and Gunma University to work out the test method that will detect the virus from saliva in about 25 minutes, Kyodo news reported.

The pharma company in a statement said the new method “does not require specialized equipment or a technical expert” and can “detect the virus with accuracy equivalent to the widely used polymerase chain reaction test”.

World is hit by the pandemic ever since it was first reported in China last December which has so far reported 84,573 confirmed cases and 4,639 deaths due to the infection, with 79,536 recoveries.

The US, Brazil, Russia, and India are currently the hardest-hit in the world.

The pandemic has killed nearly 468,500 people worldwide, with more than 8.96 million confirmed cases and close to 4.44 million recoveries, according to figures compiled by the US’ Johns Hopkins University.

“The new signal amplification by ternary initiation complexes method measures the coronavirus’ genes, proteins and metabolites in saliva, and its results can be determined visually,” Shionogi said.

The coronavirus testing puts healthcare workers at risk of infection when they collect a sample from the patient using a cotton swab.

The Japanese pharma company said it is aiming for the early commercialization of the new test for use at medical facilities and quarantine stations to screen international travelers.

Japan has reported a total of 18,539 virus cases including those from the Diamond Princess cruise ship. As many as 345,249 people have been tested for the infection, while 955 died so far.

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