Australian company wins $300MILLION contract to supply the US with at-home coronavirus tests that give a result in just 15 minutes
- Brisbane-based Ellume has created Covid tests which give results in 15 minutes
- Ellume has agreed to a $300million contract to supply US with the DIY test kits
- Will supply the US government with 19 million tests a month by end of the year
- The groundbreaking DIY tests return results with a 95 per cent accuracy rate
An Australian company has won a $300million contract to supply the US with DIY coronavirus test kits that give a result in just 15 minutes.
Brisbane medical technology provider Ellume was first given approval in December by US regulators to sell the at-home testing kits across the country.
Under the deal, Ellume will provide the Biden administration with 19 million prescription-free tests a month by the end of 2021.
The tests – which are expected to cost $39 each – can be used by both children and adults and is claimed to have a more than 95 per cent accuracy rate.
Ellume’s at home coronavirus test (pictured) allows patients to collect their own samples – which are then examined via a device connected to their smartphones
However, the Australian Government has yet to offer any interest in the groundbreaking technology – which can also be used by medical professionals and in areas with large crowds like airports and stadiums.
Ellume chief executive and former emergency room doctor Dr Sean Parsons – who employs about 200 staff – previously designed the first at-home influenza test after noticing a gap in the market while working in a busy hospital.
‘We have been working away for a long time to create the core technology to make this fly,’ he told Sunrise on Tuesday morning.
He said Ellume was on track to manufacture 200,000 tests every day at its Australian plant by the end of March.
The company is also building a bigger facility in the US with the capacity to produce another 500,000 tests a day.
‘Australia’s testing needs are a bit different [to the US],’ he said.
Ellume chief executive and former emergency room doctor Dr Sean Parsons has agreed a $300million contract with the US government to supply them with DIY coronavirus test kits
‘Right now we have got pretty good control of the virus – America is in a different spot right now and they need a different kind of test.’
Dr Parsons had earlier said it was frustrating to receive no word from the Australian government about rolling out the tests locally.
‘We have been having discussions with the Queensland state government, which have largely fallen on deaf ears,’ Dr Parsons told The Australian in October.
‘I’d be lying if I said it wasn’t frustrating.
‘We have unique technology that has been hard-fought over a decade and it is a little bit disappointing the Australian government hasn’t been interested and understood the value that could bring to Covid.’
The company’s test uses devices that transmit patient samples digitally before the results appear on screen.
Australians can currently go to drive-in testing centres, like this one in Bondi Beach, but results can take up to 72 hours
The test is run on Ellume’s ‘Access eHub’ – which is a portable, digital device that can give results back in just 15 minutes, and in strong positive cases results can appear in just three minutes.
Experts believe faster testing would encourage more people to take part as they wouldn’t have to isolate for long while awaiting results.
Currently, Covid-19 test results in Australia take up to 72 hours, as they need to be posted off to specialist labs.