Canon Medical, a medical unit of digital imaging solutions firm Canon, has announced that it begin development of a rapid genetic testing system for novel coronavirus (COVID-19).

Headed by the Japan Agency for Medical Research, the project is part of a research programme which is involved in the development of diagnostic methods for coronavirus.

The company was chosen to participate in the programme in collaboration with Nagasaki University.

The Covid-19 death toll has exceeded 10,000 worldwide, with a total of more than 224,000 cases and 84,000 recoveries confirmed as of 19 March.

The LAMP method developed by Eiken Chemical will be the basis for the test and the reagents being developed for COVID-19 RNA testing.

To detect the presence of virus,  they will be used with a compact isothermal amplified gene fluorescent detector manufactured by Canon Medical.

Canon stated: “Compared to the conventional test method of real-time PCR, the LAMP method allows for detection of the virus to be performed more easily and quickly, which makes it suitable for testing in local areas where infection is prevalent.”

Canon Medical supported several medical emergencies in the past worldwide

The company claims that its medical unit’s earlier work supporting medical emergencies helped them to get selected in the COVID-19 research programme.

Notably, Canon Medical delivered Ebola rapid test kits to the Republic of Guinea in 2015 and sale of a type of Zika virus test in 2018.

In 2019, the company again supplied Ebola rapid test kits to the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

US-based developer of molecular diagnostic platforms Rheonix is also developing a fully-automated COVID-19 (coronavirus) test kit employing its Encompass MDx workstation.