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ASU says it's developing virtually instant test for COVID-19

ASU says it's developing virtually instant test for COVID-19

  • Updated

With Gov. Doug Ducey looking on, Arizona State University President Michael Crow explained Thursday how a new virtually instant test for COVID-19 being developed will work.

PHOENIX — Arizona State University is getting $6 million from the state to finish developing what is being billed as a virtually instant test for COVID-19.

ASU President Michael Crow described the device as the next generation of saliva testing.

The advantages go beyond not having someone poke a cotton swab up your nose, he said Thursday.

“You’ll spit in to one of the most advanced technological devices that you could possibly imagine,” Crow said.

It will be outfitted with microchips and tiny laboratory devices that will heat the sample and do the chemical analysis “in a thing not much bigger than an electrical thermometer.”

“That thing communicates with your cell phone,” Crow said. “You get the green light, you go to school, you go to work, you go to the game.”

The test, with what has been billed as a 15-minute response time, is describing as a “point of need” device.

“We believe that we can have a prototype ready in six months,” Crow said.

There was no estimate of what the device might cost.

One particular place where it could prove useful is at nursing homes and other congregate care facilities.

State health department rules say family members can have indoor visits there if they present the results of a COVID-19 test done within the past 48 hours. That requires not just coordinating the process of going to a laboratory but hoping the results come back in time.

A total of $5.2 million is coming from the federal dollars controlled by the governor’s office and another $860,000 from the state health department.

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