The U.S. Military develops a test that can detect if you are positive in COVID-19 24 hours before you even show symptoms from working on germ warfare.
DARPA Is Finalizing Something Big
Scientists from the U.S. military are developing a new kind of test that will help detect the coronavirus even before the infection can show any symptoms, according to a report by The Guardian.
The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, otherwise called DARPA, is cooperating with several U.S. universities to create a screening tool to fill in the gap between the current nasal swabs used to detect people who are suffering from COVID-19.
The results came from a mere retooling of a current program that was launched to develop a test that quickly identifies military members who have been exposed to potential biological weapons.
One of DARPA's research partners, Mt. Sinai School of Medicine, has been vague about what kind of test they are currently developing. Still, they did say that the test has the potential to diagnose the coronavirus within just 24 hours of infection, again, according to The Guardian.
Both DARPA and Mt. Sinai have applied for emergency use of authorization for the test once again from the FDA.
What About The Other Tests For COVID-19?
There are currently three types of tests for COVID-19. They use a nasal swab diagnostic called PCR, antibody tests, and finally, antigen tests.
There are issues, however, with all the current tests. The nasal swab is not reliable since it can detect infection after four days after the infection, more research has suggested that people are even more contagious even earlier on before showing any signs of infection.
For the antibody test, the blood is intended to determine who has already been infect and has begun to gain an immunity to the coronavirus.
DARPA researchers have developed a blood-based test to detect COVID-19 as early as 24 hrs after infection -- before symptom onset and several days before a carrier is considered capable of spreading it to other people. https://t.co/a8tiIv6Ftl @fluidigm @IcahnMountSinai @unmc pic.twitter.com/R6ZNevOPfk — DARPA (@DARPA) May 1, 2020
The Importance of DARPA's Potential Testing Kit
Having the ability to quickly identify who has and who doesn't have the virus is crucial for spreading the coronavirus.
There was a recent study in a Seattle nursing home, which found 56 percent of the people who were tested positive there were asymptomatic, and only half of them shown symptoms after a while.
That's why the importance of DARPA, along with other universities, is a top priority; the initiative was launched just last year as the epigenetic characterization and observation or Echo program.
The diagnostic tool is being tested and has shown excellent results to detect other viruses. Dr. Van Giseon, responsible for the Echo program, had this to say: "We have evidence that diagnosis happens in the first 24 hours for influenza and an adenovirus ... We are still in the midst of proving that with COVID-19. That said, we should know very soon after EUA."
DARPA estimates that the tests are about 95 percent accurate, which is not a bad margin of success granted that the testing kit is only in its early stages. Given how important to find out better solutions to identify COVID-19 around the world.