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UAE develops rapid COVID-19 laser testing technology

UAE develops rapid COVID-19 laser testing technology
Representational Photo

Abu Dhabi: As the medical fraternity around the world scrambles to develop ways which will enable better tackling of coronavirus crisis, QuantLase Imaging Lab, the medical-research arm of International Holdings Company, IHC announced that it has developed novel equipment which enables for much faster mass screenings, with test results available in seconds and allowing testing on a wider scale.

Mass-scale screening

According to a report in WAM, “this breakthrough will enable ‘Mass-scale screening’, changing the whole dimension of tracing and the speed with which workforces can be approached”.

As per the latest data from Johns Hopkins University, the number of coronavirus cases across the world has risen to 4,629,503 while the death toll has risen to 2,97,360.

The COVID-19 cases in the UAE stand at 25,063. The deadly virus has also claimed 227 lives in the country.

WAM quoted Abdul Rahman bin Mohammad bin Nasser Al Owais, Minister of Health and Prevention, as saying that the government is keen on supporting initiatives that help the healthcare system in the UAE.

“Health officials have been closely monitoring the progress of trials with QuantLase in order to test this equipment. We are proud to see a technology that works and that will help to protect our people better.”

Doctor gives equipment details

Dr Pramod Kumar, who leads the team of researchers at the lab which has been studying the change in the cell structure of the virus-infected blood, stated that the equipment, which uses a CMOS detector, will enable mass-scale screening with results made available in seconds.

“In fact, our laser-based DPI (Diffractive Phase Interferometry) technique, based on optical-phase modulation, is able to give a signature of infection within a few seconds. What’s more, it is user-friendly, non-invasive and low-cost. The device is suitable for use not only in hospitals and public places like cinemas and shopping malls, but with a ‘little hands-on training’ it can be used for in-house testing and monitoring. We believe it will be a game-changer in tackling the spread of the coronavirus,” Kumar was quoted as saying.

Kumar expressed hope that the lab would be able to roll out the product in the market in a few months.

“As far as early-stage detection is concerned, our DPI technique is capable to detect as soon as the blood cell gets infected. Our aim is to eventually reach the maximum level of accuracy,” said Dr Kumar.

This comes after US drugmaker Moderna announced on Monday that phase I trials of COVID-19 vaccine has shown positive early results.

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