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Rapid coronavirus test speeds up access to urgent care

Cambridge university researchers have analysed the impact of using point-of-care testing at Addenbrooke's hospital.

Blood TestRapid coronavirus test speeds up access to urgent care and will free up beds ahead of winter

  • The SAMBA II diagnostic device cuts COVID-19 test result times from over 24 hours to just two hours. 

  • First study of SAMBA devices on hospital wards finds patient time on COVID ‘holding wards’ was almost halved.   

  • Researchers say faster tests helped free up beds and expedite access to life-saving treatments such as organ transplants – and might make all the difference later this year. 

The first analysis of a new point-of-care “nucleic acid test” for SARS-CoV-2 in a UK hospital setting shows these machines dramatically reduce time spent on COVID-19 ‘holding’ wards – allowing patients to be treated or discharged far quicker than with current lab testing set-ups. 

The rapid diagnostic capability of SAMBA II devices – an average of 2.6 hours compared with 26.4 hours for standard lab tests – led to an increased availability of ‘isolation rooms’ needed for infected patients, as well as fewer hospital bay closures. 

University of Cambridge researchers behind the new study, currently a pre-print and awaiting peer-review, say that the time and hospital capacity spared by these devices will be “critical as we move towards autumn and winter”. 

The SAMBA II machine was developed by a University spinout company, Diagnostics in the Real World, and deployed for trials in Addenbrooke’s Hospital, part of Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust (CUH).

For more information visit: CUH News

Published June 3, 2020

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