A biomedical researcher at Purdue University has developed a paper, handheld device to test for infectious diseases, including the various coronaviruses.

Test results can be read within 40 minutes, according to Jacqueline Linnes, an assistant professor of biomedical engineering who specializes in building portable diagnostic tools.

Only a handful of state and local laboratories have permission from U.S. health officials to use diagnostics test for COVID-19. Results can take hours if not days.

Linnes’ paper device can quickly detect a different strain of coronavirus, MERS-CoV, even in small quantities. A clear test result can be read directly from the device itself, making it portable.

Similar to a pregnancy test, a user just looks for a second line to appear on the test strip to see if it’s positive for a virus.

But so far, Linnes’ team has just been able to produce these devices on a lab-scale, which calls for cutting out the paper components by hand.

“Because this device has a more complex shape, a process hasn’t been developed to make it available on a commercial scale,” said Linnes. “However, many processes in electronics and paper manufacturing could be translated to scaling up this device.”

She says it’ll test an investment of millions of dollars to take the product to the next level.

A patent application has been filed for this technology through the Purdue Research Foundation Office of Technology Commercialization.

Click here to learn more about the device.