The FDA has given the green light to its first at-home test for COVID-19, allowing people to collect nasal swab samples themselves and then ship them to a clinical laboratory to be analyzed for signs of the novel coronavirus. Offered by LabCorp, the Pixel test is built off the coronavirus diagnostic that received an FDA authorization in early March, forming the basis of its nationwide testing service. The new home kit includes specifically designed swabs that only have to go as far as the nostril, as opposed to the deeper nasopharyngeal swabs used in previous tests.
Those swabs must reach farther back into the nose’s upper cavities to collect a clean sample—a difficult and uncomfortable procedure that requires a trained healthcare professional—which had been a hindrance to the development of home-based tests.
Swiss Researchers Develop Methods to Sniff out Coronavirus in the Air
Switzerland’s national institute for applied materials sciences—known under the German acronym EMPA—typically works in energy, natural resources, pollution and environmental research as well as in nanotechnology and biomaterials for medical implants and other devices.
Now, along with research university ETH Zurich, one team is working on a sensor that can detect the novel coronavirus as it floats through the air. This wouldn’t replace laboratory tests or diagnostics for patients, but it could potentially be used to monitor airborne concentrations in high-traffic areas such hospitals or public transit stations, according to the researchers.
Oxford COVID-19 Clinical Trial Aims for a Viable Vaccine by September
A team at Britain’s Oxford University is starting human trials on a potential COVID-19 vaccine on Thursday, Health Minister Matt Hancock announced Tuesday, and the British government is “going to back them to the hilt,” starting with a $25 million government investment.
Oxford’s Jenner Institute and the Oxford Vaccine Group are conducting the trial. Adrian Hill, director of Jenner Institute, said last week the “aim is to have about a million doses by September once we have the results of our vaccine efficacy tests,” and “then we’ll move even faster from there, because it’s pretty clear that the world is going to need hundreds of millions of doses ideally by the end of the year to end this pandemic.”