A newly-developed rapid test using florescent light can detect if you have coronavirus or flu in just 15 minutes, it has been claimed.
Experts say the fluorescent light searches for antigens, little proteins on the surface of a virus molecule, that belong to Covid-19.
The new tests have been compared to the PCR tests which are currently the gold standard when it comes to detecting the virus.
At the moment, the quickest test in the UK you can get is a rapid flow test with results in 30 minutes, but experts have previously warned that these tests are not as accurate as the PCR kits.
Everyone has access to these tests and you can get them posted to your home address or go to a test site.
You can get a PCR test which comes back with results in 48 hours if you have the common coronavirus symptoms such as a new persistent cough, a high temperature and a loss of taste and smell.
Now experts the US are saying a new test could rule out infection of both Covid-19 and the flu in just 15 minutes and they think the technology could also be adapted for other illnesses.
The PCR tests look for specific genetic material which matches coronavirus whereas antigen tests look for protein on the surface of the virus.
The new 15-minute test from the University of Santa Cruz experts starts with a nose swab which is then examined with a fluorescent light.
The probe will then light up if it detects a specific virus.
Experts created a new molecule which was coded to look for both Covid antigens and those that are present when someone has the flu, to develop the new tests.
They say no extra equipment is needed as the molecule will shine bright enough so that someone administering the test can see.
The researchers have called the test “ultra sensitive” and claim that their test can identify flu and Covid proteins with a higher degree of accuracy than other similar tests.
It has colour markers so that experts are able to tell whether or not a patient has flu or coronavirus.
If a patient has Covid a red light will show, and if they have the flu a green light will be displayed.
The fact that the test can distinguish between the two viruses would be helpful during flu season as both illnesses share similar symptoms.
Senior author of the study Holger Schmidt said: “This test could certainly be used in a central lab and provide high sensitivity and highly reliable antigen tests.”
He added that administering the tests over the counter in a pharmacy could be a possibility.