Coronavirus test which gives you results in just five minutes developed in Yorkshire

Yorkshire-based Braveheart Investment Group has joined forces with Sheffield University to develop and commercialise a five minute test for Covid-19.
Trevor Brown, chief executive of BraveheartTrevor Brown, chief executive of Braveheart
Trevor Brown, chief executive of Braveheart

Barnsley-based Braveheart ​described the test as ​"​a world first for Yorkshire". The test, which is completely portable, has successfully completed the first stages of development and is expected to be launched in the first quarter of next year.

Trevor Brown, chief executive of Braveheart, said: “This is a world first for Yorkshire. We’ve already completed the proof of concept stage and we believe it will be the first Covid-19 test to combine rapid results with very high detection sensitivity.”

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Braveheart, which is quoted on AIM, and its 100 per cent owned company Paraytec, a York-based instrumentation company, have developed the test alongside Sheffield University, where

Professor Carl Smythe has been leading the projectProfessor Carl Smythe has been leading the project
Professor Carl Smythe has been leading the project

Professor Carl Smythe, who holds a personal chair in Molecular Cell Biology, has been leading the project.

Prof Smythe said: “Our objective was to develop a very sensitive, fast test for Covid-19 that was portable and could be used by a non-specialist operator.

"We’re close to achieving that and, in addition, the underlying technology that we’ve developed can be applied to other viruses and in principle to a wide variety of different illnesses.”

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The Braveheart Covid-19 test combines the molecular biological expertise of Sheffield University with Paraytec’s track record in fluorescent imaging.

The test involves a new technique to capture the Covid-19 virus and then attaches a fluorescent bead to it so that it can be made visible by a light source and the ​level of virus can be counted.

Prof Smythe said: “One of the ways that this test is different to other tests is that it will detect intact Covid-19 virus​,​ whereas current techniques involve extracting out parts of the virus and amplifying them to detect their presence.

"Being able to detect intact virus is really important from the point of view of infectivity. With existing tests​​ we know that people who have had Covid-19​,​ but may no longer be infectious​,​ continue to give positive results.

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“Our test will be very sensitive by comparison, being able to test people accurately both before people are symptomatic and afterwards.”

The next steps in the development of the test will be the collection of clinical data using live Covid-19 virus and refining the detection device, which will be the size of a shoe box and will give a simple yes or no answer when used.

Mr Brown said: “We are currently on track for the test to be launched in the first quarter of next year and believe that it will have widespread application owing to its speed of result, high specificity and compact size.

"This could include hospitals and other healthcare environments, where a rapid test would be invaluable, through to leisure venues such as restaurants and sports stadia.

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“Our vision is that it will be very widely used, both in the UK and overseas, and become an essential part of the fight against Covid-19.”

Numis Securities estimates that the market for identifying and treating the Covid-19 virus could be worth $20bn (£15.4bn) a year and that the capability to manage the threat from respiratory viruses will be retained after Covid-19.

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