Japan develops sensor to detect viruses in five minutes

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​Tokyo, March 15 (IANS) Japanese electronics giant Toshiba in collaboration with Osaka University has developed a sensor that detects infectious viruses in five minutes, the media reported on Tuesday.

Faster diagnosis will help not only in preventing the development of severe symptoms with timely treatment but will also reduce the possibility of contagion, EFE news quoted Nikkei daily as saying.

The new sensor recognises virus forms in a few minutes as opposed to existing methods that use gene amplification, which requires around eight hours.

The university and Toshiba, which is currently negotiating the sale of its medical equipment branch Toshiba Medical Systems, plan to launch a diagnostic device based on this new technology in 2020.

Toshiba has announced it will manufacture the chip that forms the core of the device.

Toshiba and the Osaka University are working towards commercialising the system by 2017, which would be in the form of a kit priced at $9, said Nikkei.

Other Japanese companies are also working towards developing efficient diagnostic technology, including Konica Minolta, that together with Tokyo Metropolitan Institute of Medical Science, have come up with a system to detect the influenza virus (commonly known as flu), altering the technology used for quick pregnancy tests.

The system, which uses a high performance chip with fluorescent pigment can be used to detect mosquito-borne diseases, such as zika and dengue.

Current systems of detection take up to one to two days from the appearance of symptoms, while the new system can reduce time to 12 hours or less.​​​

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