The Polish biotech company GeneMe has developed a faster and more affordable COVID-19 test that should enable testing on a massive scale. The test itself has been dubbed FRANKD, and it uses a mouth swab to generate results in 13-25 minutes at a price point of £10 per test.
According to GeneMe, FRANKD has been vetted by Gdańsk University of Technology, and is faster than the RT-PCR test currently recommended by the World Health Organization. Unlike the RT-PCR test, FRANKD can be performed entirely on-premises, eliminating the logistical hurdle of sending samples to a lab. The company has submitted FRANKD for independent evaluation, and hopes to receive European CE certification in early June.
After that, GeneMe will ramp up production to test as many people as possible. The company indicated that it should be able to manufacture 1 million tests by the end of June, and deliver 5 million monthly tests by the end of August. The company’s analyzers can currently process 90 tests every 30 minutes, but GeneMe will be releasing bespoke machines that can be deployed at a variety of different locations, including healthcare and airports. The fast turnaround times will allow such venues to relax social distancing requirements while still ensuring a safe environment for customers and employees.
FRANKD will also be used to deliver immunity credentials. GeneMe has partnered with Yoti, and will send someone’s test results directly to their Yoti account. That user could then use the digital ID app to share verified results without revealing any other personal information.
“We chose Yoti because of its security, user interface and reputation,” said GeneMe CTO and FRANKD developer Kasjan Szemiako. “We will share the results of the test directly with Yoti to ensure data privacy and enable user control.”
Yoti announced that it was developing a discreet immunity credential system earlier this month. The company has offered free digital identity services to organizations that are battling the COVID-19 pandemic, and recently started issuing digital IDs to NHS England and NHS Improvement employees.
May 15, 2020 – by Eric Weiss