French researchers are using tiny antibody particles extracted from the family of animals that includes camels and llamas to produce a test they say can detect if patients have COVID-19 faster and more accurately than existing methods.
The prototype test, called CorDial-1, has not been approved for use, but initial trials on 300 samples showed a 90% accuracy rate compared to a Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) test, the most reliable commonly-used method of detecting COVID-19.
The prototype test can deliver results within 10 minutes, and can be used outside the laboratory, according to the team developing it, while PCR testing typically takes hours and needs lab conditions.
There are other quick and portable COVID-19 tests available, but scientists have raised doubts about their reliability.
The CorDial-1 test uses antibody fragments called nanobodies. They are derived from camelids — a group that includes camels, dromedaries, llamas and alpacas — because they are more stable than antibodies from other creatures.