Italy trials new ‘Daily Tampon’ rapid coronavirus test

Italian authorities are trialling a new super-fast saliva test for Covid-19 which can give results in just three minutes.

Italy trials new 'Daily Tampon' rapid coronavirus test
A new coronavirus test created in Italy could considerably shorten the waiting time for results. Photo: AFP
The new test, called the “Daily Tampon”, is being trialled by the Italian health ministry and is expected to be approved for production soon, Italian media reported on Wednesday.
Tampone is the Italian word for a swab test – though the makers named the test in English.
The simple test requires a mouth swab and analyses and shows results similarly to a pregnancy test, according to media reports.
It differs from the current rapid tests being used at some Italian airports, which instead require a sample of nose and throat secretions and give results within around two hours.
Medical staff take swabs for the currently-used rapid tests for travellers in Italy. Photo: AFP
The Daily Tampon was created by a Lombardy-based company called Allum, in collaboration with the Sannio University in the southern Italian town of Benevento.
Allum, a lighting systems manufacturer, started by “designing lamps that could sanitize rooms from the virus,” company director Stefania Magni told local newspaper PrimaMerate.
“But we realised that it took too long and was burdensome. During the lockdown we wondered how we could help the country get back to normal as quickly as possible, so we started working on this test along with Pasquale Vito, professor of genetics at the University of Sannio, and the university spin-off Genus Biotech of which he is president.”

Italy is not the only country currently working on producing rapid testing kits.

French authorities on Wednesday launched a new kind of test that enables people to get their results quickly.

Health minister Olivier Veran said the new tests, called antigénique rapide in French, will deliver results in 15 to 20 minutes, although the downside is that they are less reliable than the PCR tests.

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WHO expects more monkeypox-related deaths in Europe

The World Health Organization's European office said Saturday that more monkeypox-related deaths can be expected, following reports of the first fatalities outside Africa, while stressing that severe complications were still be rare.

WHO expects more monkeypox-related deaths in Europe

“With the continued spread of monkeypox in Europe, we will expect to see more deaths,” Catherine Smallwood, Senior Emergency Officer at WHO Europe, said in a statement.

Smallwood emphasised that the goal needs to be “interrupting transmission quickly in Europe and stopping this outbreak”.

However, Smallwood stressed that in most cases the disease heals itself without the need for treatment.

“The notification of deaths due to monkeypox does not change our assessment of the outbreak in Europe. We know that although self-limiting in most cases, monkeypox can cause severe complications,” Smallwood noted.

The Spanish health ministry recorded a second monkeypox-related death on Saturday, a day after Spain and Brazil reported their first fatalities.

The announcements marked what are thought to be the first deaths linked to the current outbreak outside Africa.

Spanish authorities would not give the specific cause of death for the fatalities pending the outcome of an autopsy, while Brazilian authorities underlined that the man who died had “other serious conditions”.

“The usual reasons patients might require hospital care include help in managing pain, secondary infections, and in a small number of cases the need to manage life-threatening complications such as encephalitis,” Smallwood explained.

According to the WHO, more than 18,000 cases have been detected throughout the world outside of Africa since the beginning of May, with the majority of them in Europe.

The WHO last week declared the monkeypox outbreak a global health emergency.

As cases surge globally, the WHO on Wednesday called on the group currently most affected by the virus — men who have sex with men — to limit their sexual partners.

Early signs of the disease include a high fever, swollen lymph glands and a chickenpox-like rash.

The disease usually heals by itself after two to three weeks, sometimes taking a month.

A smallpox vaccine from Danish drug maker Bavarian Nordic, marketed under the name Jynneos in the United States and Imvanex in Europe, has also been found to protect against monkeypox.