Queensland has recorded zero new coronavirus cases overnight, marking 20 days since the state last recorded a case that posed a risk of community transmission.
Five active cases remain across the state.
The state’s testing rate has increased, with more than 6000 tests conducted in past 24 hours.
It comes as the state prepares to reopen its border to NSW local governments areas at 1am on Thursday, including Byron Bay, Ballina, Lismore, Richmond Valley and Glen Innes.
Rapid COVID-19 test could detect virus ‘virtually instantly’
Meanwhile, Queensland scientists who are developing a rapid COVID-19 test, likened to pregnancy testing kits, say the test could eventually be used at home and have a result “virtually instantly”.
The technology, dubbed XavTrap, uses bio-engineering yeast molecules to test for a disease caused by an infection and was originally created to quickly detect viruses such as Dengue in less developed countries.
Head of the Brisbane development company Xing Technologies, Tom Esplin, said the test was being trialled in the US and worked similar to a pregnancy dipstick.
“You don’t pee on it – but you take saliva or nasal fluid and put it on the test strip,” he said.
“That will show a visible, ‘yes you’ve got live virus’, or ‘no you don’t’.”
The test can detect the virus in under 10 minutes and would need to be administered by a health professional but researchers expect it could provide a rapid result at home.
“Brilliant scientists are working on a virtually instant test … so we can process a lot of people very quickly,” he said.
“We’ve certainly positioned our development so that it can be a home test you can do yourself and very, very low cost,” Mr Esplin said.
The research has drawn funding from the US government and recently received $1.5 million from a state government grant in a bid to fast-track the technology.
In a statement, Innovation Minister Kate Jones said the company was chosen for the Industry Tech Fund funding from over 2500 applicants.
“This technology has potential to significantly reduce the spread of COVID-19. It could be a real game changer,” she said.
“Even if we manage to overcome COVID-19 within the next year, this technology will lay the all-important groundwork in helping us prepare for future pandemics.”
The company is also investigating whether the technology can be used to design a product like a spray or coating for face masks that would minimise the transmission of COVID-19.
Mr Esplin said it was hoped the tests could be ready for mass production and roll out in the next 12 months.
“We would love to say three months but science is science and we need to give it a bit of space rather than putting pressure on it,” he said.
“We’d like to think we could get the test out very quickly … we can produce these tests at 10 million a month.”