Scientists at Britain's Oxford University have developed a "simple, extremely rapid, and cost-effective" antigen test that accurately identifies COVID-19 in less than five minutes, Oxford physics professor Achilles Kapanidis said Thursday. Oxford said it hopes to start developing the test for commercial use in early 2021, with expected approval six months later. A quick and accurate COVID-19 test could allow for bulk testing at places like airports, colleges, and businesses.
Public health officials expect at least one COVID-19 vaccine to be widely available by next summer. But the coronavirus will likely remain a public health concern for at least another year, and having an rapid test that "can reliably distinguish between different viruses in clinical samples" should offer "a crucial advantage in the next phase of the pandemic," said Dr Nicole Robb at Warwick Medical School, especially in winter months when COVID-19 is mixed in "with other seasonal respiratory viruses."