Oxford scientists have developed a new type of test that can detect COVID-19 with a high degree of accuracy, directly in samples taken from patients, using a machine learning-based approach. Tech Crunch brought this interesting news to us in their article, “New Oxford machine learning-based COVID-19 test can provide results in under 5 minutes.”

That means it could be among the technologies that unlock mass testing — a crucial need not only for managing the current COVID-19 pandemic, but also on helping with potential future global viral outbreaks.

The technology that makes this possible works by labeling any virus particles found in a sample collected by a patient using short, fluorescent DNA strands that act as markers. A microscope images the sample and the labeled viruses present, and then machine learning software takes over using algorithmic analysis to automatically identify the virus.

A huge benefit is it’s portability. It can be used in retail settings, healthcare settings, airports, etc.

Melody K. Smith

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