A team at the Engineering Science Library at Oxford University has created a COVID-19 test kit that can be used anywhere, including at home. It’s price tag — a mere $25. Unfortunately, the market is also being hit by scammers selling fake COVID-19 test kits for at-home use. Here’s what you need to know.
Oxford University’s COVID-19 Test
Working in conjunction with medical professionals from China, a team at Oxford’s Engineering Science Laboratory had an eight-week head start on developing the test.
According to CNN, the university’s test uses a mix of chemicals and enzymes that change color from pink to yellow when the virus is present. It takes only 30 minutes to provide results. Not only is the test fast, but the chemicals only need to be kept at 150 degrees Fahrenheit for a half hour. That can easily be done at a hospital. Or even at home.
Professor Zhengfang Cui, who led the team, is hopeful clinical trials can be conducted in the coming days.
“We have three things to do,” Zhengfang said. “The first is to get clinical trials. We just started those here at Oxford University Hospital.”
The second component is regulatory approval, which is based on the number of tests done.
“The third is to get industry partners to implement large scale manufacture,” Zhengfang said. “For that, we need clean rooms and manufacturing facilities. And then we can roll out the product.”
Fake COVID-19 Test Kits Hitting Market
When a handful of health companies announced last week they would start selling tests, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) referred to those particular tests as “fraudulent test kits” and made it clear the tests were not authorized. In fact, the FDA has warned against using home-based COVID-19 tests.
“We want to alert the American public that, at this time, the FDA has not authorized any test that is available to purchase for testing yourself at home for COVID-19,” the FDA announced last Friday.
The FDA cautions that if you see a home-based COVID-19 or Coronavirus test for sale and it says it will test a mucus swab that can be taken home, don’t purchase this test. “Fraudulent health claims, tests, and products can pose serious health risks. They may keep some patients from seeking care or delay necessary medical treatment.”