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Coronavirus

1-hour coronavirus test under development in Japan

New kit from Shimadzu skips step to deliver faster results

Shimadzu researcher Masamitsu Shikata at a news conference March. 4. The company says it is cutting a time-consuming step in existing coronavirus tests to produce results in one hour. (Photo by Kenya Akama)

KYOTO -- Japanese precision instrument maker Shimadzu is working on a one-hour test kit for the new coronavirus, which could be delivered to health institutions as early as this month, the company said Wednesday.

It aims to produce between 20,000 and 50,000 per month tests by the end of March at a Kyoto plant. Shimadzu will boost output to 100,000 tests a month if necessary.

Existing coronavirus tests involve extracting RNA from throat or nasal swabs. Shimadzu's test will skip the step of removing impurities that could interfere with the process, which means faster results.

The Kyoto-based company is drawing on experience with testing for norovirus, which causes vomiting and diarrhea

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