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Brisbane scientist reveals secret behind rapid 15-minute COVID-19 test

Dr Yadveer Grewal is a research scientist at Brisbane based biotech company XING Technologies. Source: Supplied

Brisbane-based biotech company XING Technologies is aiming to develop a simple and fast diagnostic test for coronavirus.

Scientists in Queensland are developing a new type of COVID-19 diagnostic kit that can potentially provide a result as fast as a pregnancy test.


Highlights:

  • Brisbane-based scientists are developing a rapid diagnostic test for coronavirus
  • Dr Yadveer Grewal said the test utilises bio-engineered yeast molecules to trap COVID-19
  • The project has received funding from the QLD state and the US government

XING Technologies researcher Yadveer Grewal told SBS Punjabi that the new test if successfully developed, would revolutionise the way the medical world has been diagnosing coronavirus. 

Dr Yadveer Grewal working in his laboratory at XING Technologies, Brisbane.
Dr. Yadveer Grewal working in his laboratory at XING Technologies, Brisbane.
Supplied

"We are already looking forward to fast-tracking the development of this test and getting the necessary regulatory approvals for the diagnostic kit so we can be up and ready to meet the demand in markets in USA, Europe and the Asian region, particularly India," he said.

The project has received $1.5 million from the state government and $1.4 million in funds from the US National Institute of Health (UNIH)

Scanning electron microscope image shows SARS-CoV-2 (orange)also known as 2019-nCoV, emerging from the surface of cells (green).
Scanning electron microscope image shows SARS-CoV-2 (orange) also known as 2019-nCoV, emerging from the surface of cells (green).
NIAID-RML / AAP

Explaining how the test would work, Dr Grewal said XavTrap is a low-cost, rapid point-of-care test that contains bio-engineered yeast molecules coated with velcro-like particles.

"Once the virus sticks to the coating, we would be able to diagnose an infection in an ultrafast way.

"All one needs is a patient's nasal swab that would be applied to a strip, and within 5–15 minutes, we would get the result, depending on how infectious the person is," he said.  

Dr Grewal said healthcare professionals could also use the test before their daily hospital shifts for rapid and reliable results.

He claims that the test they are developing is far superior to the existing COVID-19 tests, which are either dependent upon the human body's response against the virus.  

"The test being developed by XING and its partners is focused on detecting the live virus itself, which is a reliable indicator of an infection," he said. 

Dr Yadveer Grewal
Supllied

Dr Grewal completed his PhD in 2015 from the University of Queensland before starting his professional career with XING Technologies. 

Talking about his long-spanning career in research, Dr Grewal said that he has spent quite a few years of his professional life in the field of cancer care and protein detection diagnostics.

"I have a specific interest in various bioengineered nanoparticle-based capture agents to identify and prevent the spread of pathogens such as COVID-19," he said.

To hear Dr Grewal's full interview, please click on the audio player above. 

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People in Australia must stay at least 1.5 meters away from others. Find out what restrictions are in place for your state or territory.

Testing for coronavirus is now widely available across Australia. If you are experiencing cold or flu symptoms, arrange a test by calling your doctor or contact the Coronavirus Health Information Hotline on 1800 020 080.

SBS is committed to informing Australia’s diverse communities about the latest COVID-19 developments. News and information is available in 63 languages at sbs.com.au/coronavirus 

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