Turkish scientists at Bilkent University’s National Nanotechnology Research Center (UNAM) have developed a nanotechnology-based system that diagnoses COVID-19 in 10 seconds with 99% reliability without taking swab tests.

The high-technology Turkish product named Diagnovir is expected to replace PCR tests.

“A method that yields results only in seconds and can replace PCR has been developed. If positive, it yields the result immediately. When negative, it takes a little more time with the controls,” Bilkent University’s Rector Abdullah Atalar told Anadolu Agency.

“The whole world will benefit from this technology, which belongs completely to Turkey,” he added.

Atalar drew attention on the significance of speedily diagnosing the coronavirus. “Finding out that a person is [COVID-19] positive rapidly and to quarantine them is very important to bring the pandemic under control,” he said.

He also noted that the technology has qualities that can be used for pandemics similar to coronavirus.

A researcher, Bulend Ortac said the study to develop a fast diagnostic system and kit has been going on for seven months.

Ortac said: “We achieved positive results in Phase 2 studies. We observed that the tests we carried out both in laboratory and hospitals on coronavirus patients yielded accurate results with a vast majority.”

“While PCR has a high margin of error and yields results two to three days into the illness, our system yields results in the early stages of the illness in seconds. Besides, the reliability rate is very high, 99%,” he said.

Ortac said they expect to start mass producing the product and make it available for the users in two months.

“Thus, it will contribute to take the pandemic under control and ease the social life to a considerable extent,” he said.

It was also noted that the test is rather inexpensive compared to PCR, which will make more tests available for people both in Turkey and the world.

* Writing by Dilan Pamuk in Ankara

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