Development of a rapid, reliable diagnostic test for COVID-19

Development of a rapid, reliable diagnostic test for COVID-19

Project Overview

Detection of COVID-19 in humans is and will continue to be crucial in reducing the spread of infection.

Diagnostic technology and techniques are currently effective in detecting COVID-19; however are expensive, have suboptimal false negative rates and can take days to produce results.

Dr Daman Langguth, Clinical Immunologist at The Wesley Hospital, is leading a research study to investigate and develop a rapid, point-of-care diagnostic test for COVID-19.

The current preferred method for diagnosing COVID-19 is through virus DNA detection in biological samples (nasopharyngeal and throat swabs).  This current method is time-consuming, requires complex laboratory techniques, and can produce unreliable results.

This phase of the project intends to confirm acceptable selectivity and identification of SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19) in a small patient sample. This finding will then be validated in future research.

Estimated completion

Feb 2021

Phase 1 Patients

10 Patients


The Wesley Hospital

Project Aim

This novel research study is exploring the use of a novel diagnostic technology to rapidly and accurately diagnose or exclude SARS-CoV-2 antigen within minutes instead of days. 

It is intended that the time to produce a result from the input of a swab sample with this novel technique will be within 30mins, possibly even much shorter; with a very low cost per test, and the ability to commercialise as a highly automated point-of-care rapid testing platform.  The technology being evaluated utilises nanomaterial as well as specialised spectroscopy for sensitive and selective detection or exclusion of the SARS-CoV-2 virus itself.

Project Impact

If successful, this technology would be rapidly implemented into a commercial, automated platform for rapid, accurate, low-cost testing for COVID-19 using nasal, throat and saliva samples, which could yield a result within 60 minutes of specimen collection.  This would permit screening on a large scale, for example prior to admission for surgery, or prior to boarding a plane.

Rapid diagnostic testing would mean that anyone with symptoms of COVID-19, or potential exposure to COVID-19, could be rapidly cleared within an hour (rather than days) to return to their normal lives, rather than having to self-isolate while awaiting results.  Overall, this could facilitate recovery of local, state and national businesses and economies as we continue to live with this life-threatening virus.


Dr Daman Langguth, Immunologist

Improving the speed and accuracy of diagnosing COVID-19 will impact how quickly we can contain this virus until there is an effective treatment.

Dr Daman Langguth, Lead Researcher


  • Dr Emad Kiriakous, Queensland University of Technology

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Wesley Medical Research

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