An Irish company is set to release a Covid-19 testing kit which can provide a result in 15 minutes.
It is hoped the kit can be distributed in just seven days.
The tests have been developed using similar technology to that used in pregnancy tests.
They are still in the pilot phase but could reduce the testing period from four hours to just 15 minutes.
It has been described as a potentially ‘clinical weapon’ against coronavirus.
Assay Genie hopes to release its Point Of Care (POC) kit globally within weeks, and say some Irish hospitals have already been in contact to sample the test.
Colm Ryan, of Assay Genie, said: “We were working on this as soon as we found out about coronavirus, as we have contacts in China. We were ahead of the curve, due to that.
“So we worked with a partner to develop the kit to bring it to market and it’s CE certified for diagnostic use in Ireland.
“We need to come together to fight this battle.
“It’s similar to going through a war but we will stay together and get through it and unite.”
The kit uses lateral flow technology as to detect Covid-19 within just a single drop of blood.
It uses colloidal gold immunochromatography to detect the virus and antibodies in human blood, serum and plasma.
Part of the kit will change colour if the blood sample tests positive for Covid-19.
The result is delivered in just 15 minutes. The current tests use an advanced molecular technique called quantitative real-time PCR, which takes four hours to deliver a result.
Mr Ryan said that there has been “lots of contacts from Irish hospitals and in the UK, and round the world”.
He added: “They’re taking free tests on the first batch. We should have a consignment out in seven days.
“We are getting a lot of contacts from frontline staff, especially from pharmacies.
“We need a quick way of responding to this virus.
“There’s a global shortage of raw materials for the test kits being used currently.
“And I think some people don’t realise the mammoth task involved in testing.”
Mr Ryan believes that rapid testing should be used on medics who are in the midst of the crisis.
There is also a potential for large companies to acquire the kit to test their employees and see who is safe to be at work and who needs to go home or seek medical attention.
He also said that the elderly and vulnerable should have easy access to testing, but added that a medical professional would be needed to conduct the tests.