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Global biomedical technology company Biomerica has started shipping the initial samples of its finger-prick blood tests for coronavirus (Covid-19) to countries outside the US.

Trained professionals at airports, schools, work, pharmacies and doctors’ offices can perform the new ten-minute IgG/IgM rapid test.

Multiple ministries of health and government agencies in the US have requested the new product from Biomerica through its distributors in the Middle East, Europe and other countries.

The disposable point-of-care serology test can detect if a person has been recently infected with Covid-19, even in the absence of symptoms.

Based on this, health agencies will be able to focus on prior contacts of people who were earlier infected with Covid-19.

Biomerica chairman and CEO Zackary Irani said: “While the Biomerica test is new and being evaluated by various institutions, we are hopeful our low-cost test can be one of the tools used to contain this virus while vaccines and other permanent solutions are developed.

“Our launch of this Covid-19 test is by no means a shift in the company’s stated strategy of growing both our colorectal disease detection product, finalising clinical trials and gaining FDA approval for our HP Detect H Pylori test and our InFoods IBS therapy product.”

Biomerica’s disposable single-use blood test can be used in conjunction with the PCR test, which generally only shows a positive result if a person is currently infected and the virus is still present.

PCR tests also require patient samples to be sent to a lab, which makes the test expensive and the results take a longer time to show.

The company’s new test works by rapidly pre-screening larger groups of individuals. If tested positive, they could be further tested using a PCR test for verification.

Biomerica has started the application process with the US FDA under the Covid-19 Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) for possible clearance and further test use in the country.

The company has also filed a provisional patent application on rapid test technology that can be used to identify multiple coronavirus strains, including SARS-CoV-2, SARS and MERS.