On the horizon: Taiwan invents a new chip to fill in the gap betwen Antigen and PCR test

What is the invention?

A collaboration project led by Taiwan’s Ministry of Science and Technology (MOST) and Molsentech has produced a new chip device that is capable of detecting COVID-19 cases with a very low viral load, as well as those who are asymptomatic, in three minutes.

How does it fit in between Antigen and PCR testing?

According to the NARLabs, there are currently two kinds of rapid tests — antibody and antigen — for SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, and a polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test available on the market.

The at-home tests yield results in 15 minutes, the tests can sometimes provide false negatives and positives, while polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests take at least 90 minutes to a few days to reveal a result even though these are more accurate as they examine cycle threshold (CT) values, NARLabs explained.

KSVGH vice superintendent Chen Yao-sheng (陳垚生) said at the news event that the results of clinical trials with the new computer chip in COVID-19 rapid testing indicated the device had a 96.8-percent accuracy rate in sensitivity and a 95.1-percent rate in specificity.

Moreover, the chip was 100-percent consistent in identifying COVID-19 positive samples with a CT value below 35, Chen said.

In other words, the chip can detect the virus when the viral load is very low and in the incubation period, Chen said, noting that this feature can help epidemic control significantly.

How does the testing work?

There are two parts to this rapid test.
A Testing Unit(A bio-sensing microchip on a tiny plate) where a sample is placed and
A Scanning Unit.
Check out the video below: