3M, a conglomerate dealing with consumer and industrial goods has just partnered with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. The role of this collaboration is to provide an antigen test for the new coronavirus. This information was made public on Tuesday, in an announcement made by the company.
3M wants to develop a test that would show the results of the person within a couple of minutes. In the long term, 3M wants to produce a low-cost device based on simple paper that is highly similar to the common pregnancy test. That is low cost and highly effective, with an accuracy rate of over 99%. That would mean, according to Reuters, that people would be able to test themselves in the safety of their own home instead of risking to spread the virus by going to a lab for testing.
In the statement published by 3M, John Banovetz, the chief technology officer of 3M, explained that the company is doing their best to improve the accessibility, speed and affordability when it comes to testing for this new virus. That would actually be a highly important step in preventing the further spreading of the new coronavirus.
How Antigen Tests Work
Antigen tests work by identifying the proteins of the virus. Usually, antigens can be found almost instantly, so tests of this sort are faster and cheaper to produce than many other types of tests. Antigen tests, however, could perhaps not be able to identify all active infections in the individual, as was explained by the FDA, and they are not as sensitive when it comes to diagnosing COVID-19 as other types of diagnostic tests.
The Risks of Using Antigen Tests
The FDA explained that positive results coming from these antigen-based tests can be believed, as they are highly accurate, but there is a big chance of false negatives. That means that an infection cannot be ruled out if there is a negative result.