COVID-19 Global Diaries: 'Our tests may bring us out of this nightmare earlier than expected'

Helping to flatten the curve is what Maria Halasz and her company Cellmid are doing, by launching COVID-19 rapid diagnostic tests that are really making a difference

In January I became aware of the rapidly spreading coronavirus and was immediately filled with a sense of urgency. I wanted to help, but I don’t think anybody quite knew what we were facing. What we did know, however, was that this was coming – as early as 2007 scientists have warned us about a coronavirus that could potentially be very dangerous.

At Cellmid, we’re a life sciences company where we research drug and diagnostic development, and we were all watching the data coming in from China. What became clear was the importance of testing. So in early February we started looking at alternatives for widespread testing. There it was, our opportunity to help.

covid-19 tests

Maria Halasz, CEO of the life sciences company Cellmid

In the past two months we’ve been playing our part in Australia’s relentless effort to combat the COVID-19 pandemic. How? Through an agreement to supply rapid diagnostic tests (RDT); these use an antibody detection method that picks up the infection through a small amount of the patient’s blood and put into the test kit. The technology is incredible. What it actually does is look at how the body responds to the infection and the results come back in anywhere between three and 15 minutes.

It essentially means that the 18 hour-days my team and I are doing are worth it, our ethical biotech company is doing something to assist in flattening the curve of the virus, hopefully meaning we will come out of this nightmare earlier then expected.

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