Vic lab to do mobile rapid COVID-19 tests

·1-min read

Waiting 24 hours for a COVID-19 test could soon become be a thing of the past.

Melbourne laboratory MDU PHL has become the country's first to receive accreditation for mobile rapid antigen testing (RAT), as well as reverse-transcription polymerase chain reaction testing (RT-PCR).

While not as sensitive as the PCR testing Australian's currently use, the rapid antigen testing can provide a result in 15 minutes.

National Association of Testing Authorities chief executive Jennifer Evans said there had already been increased consumer demand for rapid testing and her organisation recognised the role it could have for screening COVID-19.

In recent weeks a mobile van from MDU PHL, which is also part of the Doherty Institute based at Melbourne University, was sent to the coronavirus outbreak in the regional Victorian town of Shepparton to test priority samples.

MDU PHL director Benjamin Howden said the mobile van allowed "gold standard" PCR testing on site that significantly reduced turnaround times of results, helping inform targeted public health responses.

"We've taken the proactive step to gain RAT accreditation given the need to expand the scope of testing in the future," he said in a statement on Tuesday.

NATA expects more laboratories and facilities will seeking accreditation for RAT and mobile RT-PCR testing soon.

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