Meet Irene Bosch, the Venezuelan Scientist Who Could Get a Rapid Test for the Coronavirus

Irene Bosch BELatina Latinx

One of the most serious issues with the arrival of the coronavirus in the United States has been the lack of promptness in implementing testing and screening for the disease in all communities, which prevents having a true case count and taking action accordingly.

Virology and epidemic experts have warned for months that failed efforts by the U.S. government to implement early testing “could prove especially costly in helping to flatten the pandemic’s curve as testing capacity is belatedly ramped up,” The Daily Beast reported.

“That’s left an eclectic cast of individuals, private companies, and academics to fill an once-in-a-lifetime void,” the media added.

After Chinese authorities announced to the World Health Organization the outbreak of Covid-19 in the new year, laboratories such as Boston’s E25Bio began working around the clock to get a rapid detection test to control the spread of the virus once it reached American soil.

Irene Bosch, a Venezuelan biologist who graduated from the Central University of Venezuela and is the founder and executive director of E25Bio, has been at the forefront of developing the so-called Point of Care Covid-2, a test “similar to a home pregnancy test and which can give the result in 15 minutes,” she told El Espectador newspaper.

“The sample comes into contact with gold salts and around these salts is a specific antibody that allows the detection of the Covid-19 viral proteins,” adds the media. “If it is positive, a red line will be marked on a special paper, almost in the same way that the result of a pregnancy test is revealed.”

These types of tests have proven to be effective in the prevention and control of other epidemics such as dengue, zika, or chikingunya, and their rapid development could help isolate people with or without symptoms to avoid contagion.

According to Bosch, having these tools is good “because they would allow effective control of the epidemic.”

“The mistake made by both the private and public health sectors was to focus on creating treatment rather than early and rapid diagnosis,” she added.

Right now, Point of Care Covid-2 is in the clinical validation stage to test its effectiveness. Once these steps have been completed, it can be produced in large quantities for sale to health centers around the country.