Bacter Scientific and its strategic partner Umbra Applied Technologies Group (UAT Group) have unveiled new hand-held Covid-19 and virus test unit called Novi.

The portable testing unit is designed to test Covid-19 variants, including the Delta variant.

Designed to fit the arm, the testing unit provides quick and precise results in minutes using loop-mediated isothermal amplification (LAMP) based technology.

The device will help test patient saliva in disposable tubes, which are used to screen for different respiratory dwelling viruses and their variants such as Covid-19, MERS, TB, Zika Influenza variants, Human Metapneumovirus and others.

LAMP reactions are said to quickly generate large quantities of amplified material when pathogenic bacteria/viruses are present in a patient sample, thereby helping to deliver results within minutes.

The LAMP method is believed to be highly specific due to the large number of binding sites on target DNA/RNA.

Bacter Scientific CEO and lead designer said: “Like all viruses, the coronavirus takes control of cells in its host, and it uses those cells to print more copies of itself. Each new copy of a virus contains tiny copying errors or variations in its genome which is what is referred to as a variant.

“Most of these variations are insignificant, but occasionally, one offers a significant evolutionary advantage. It might be harder for immune systems to detect. It might be more transmissible. Sometimes and quite rapidly, it can become the dominant strain.”

By coordinating with various US organisations, Bacter Scientific intends to deliver a highly nimble device that could help in inter-agency coordination through its onboard reporting app built into its Novi testing unit.