Company working to get FDA approval for fast COVID-19 test

Posted at 11:41 AM, Mar 26, 2020

Inside the lab at Bambu Global, nearly two decades of work in chemistry is getting put to use in a new coronavirus test.

“We focused very heavily over that duration of time, in developing a very strong patent portfolio that's really focused on color change technologies,” said Saleem Miyan, president of Bambu Global.

Enter NowAware, a new test the company developed to detect the presence of coronavirus.

It works like this: a sample of saliva or mucus is added to their test, which causes it to change color, indicating the virus is present. The company said it’s more than 90 percent accurate.

“We engineered the molecules,” said Robb Osinski, CEO of Bambu Global. “The chemistry behind the molecules is such that when it's in the presence of the coronavirus, it will change the molecular structure of our chemistry, turning it from what is a colorless form, to a colored form and thereby indicating the presence of the virus itself.”

It’s not fool-proof; it might also indicate the presence of other similar viruses like SARS or MERS. However, it’s fast, taking just a few minutes, at a time when coronavirus testing has been slow or unavailable.

The company is now awaiting FDA-emergency approval and said once that comes through, they could begin production within two weeks. The company said the cost of the test would be around $20.

“Our ultimate goal is providing total reassurance for people that they don't have the virus, they aren't carrying the virus and that ultimately, they can administer this very low-cost solution somewhere that's truly convenient for them,” Miyan said.

It's something that they hope, one day in the future, might be right at home.

“Ultimately, we envision this being a household product that you can literally test yourself and then know whether or not you're carrying the virus or a virus,” Osinski said.

This, as the world deals with a pandemic, still in its early stages of outbreak.