7 Oct 2020

Auckland company wins US grant to develop rapid Covid test machine

4:40 pm on 7 October 2020

An Auckland company has picked up a US government grant to ramp up production of a mobile rapid testing machine for Covid-19.

Ubiquitome's Liberty 16 Covid testing machine.

Ubiquitome's Liberty 16 Covid testing machine. Photo: Supplied / Ubiquitome

Ubiquitome has been given a multimillion-dollar grant by a section of the US Department of Health and Human Services for its Liberty 16 device.

The grant was part of a $US1.5 billion programme to boost America's capacity for Covid-19 testing, with Ubiqitome the only non-US firm to get through the funding round. The device still needs approval of the US Federal Drug Administration before it can be rolled out to hospitals.

The chief executive, Paul Pickering, said the device, which weighs about 2kgs and is the size of a small box, could test 16 samples in 40 minutes and send the results to a mobile phone.

"The Liberty 16 will be targeted for use by rural and metropolitan hospitals and mobile labs to test for SARS-CoV-2 - the virus that causes Covid-19."

"Following testing at Massey University, the Liberty 16 is good-to-go for Covid-19 testing," Pickering said.

The company has pitched the device as being suitable for doing pre-flight health checks at airports, and screening front line staff.

Ubiquitome has already received nearly $700,000 from the government's Covid-19 Innovation Acceleration Fund grant for product development and testing.

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