Rapid coronavirus testing trial begins in Amsterdam
TNO and health service GGD Amsterdam launched an experiment with a new, faster coronavirus test this week. The new test can indicate whether someone has Covid-19 within one hour, instead of the 24-48 hours long waiting time for the PCR test currently used by the GGD health services, and with just as much accuracy, TNO said.
For the experiment, samples taken by the GGD test center in the RAI in Amsterdam will be assessed with the new test by TNO and with the PCR test by the GGD. The results will then be compared to test the accuracy of the rapid test.
This rapid test is the loop-mediated isothermal amplification (LAMP), developed by TNO itself. It uses a shallower swab of nostrils and throat than the more commonly used PCR test, and samples are heated to a lower temperature.
According to TNO, the LAMP method simplifies and reduces the number of intermediate steps between the patient giving a mucus sample, and the result of the test. The amount of reagents needed is also lower, and the price per test is therefore expected to be "well below half of the current PCR test", TNO said. "LAMP can also be performed with materials exclusively produced in the Netherlands."
If the LAMP tests prove to be as fast and accurate as TNO believes, it could be a major boost for the Netherlands' fight against this pandemic. "Being able to determine more quickly if a person is infected is vital in efficiently controlling the infection in the population," TNO said.