Argentine scientists working on $8 coronavirus test

Scientists in Argentina are producing what they call a fast and inexpensive coronavirus test, which the government there says has attracted international attention.

The new test is called 'NEOKIT-COVID-19' and developers say it costs around $8 (USD) and gives results in less than two hours.

Santiago Werbajh is an epidemiologist at the Pablo Cassara Foundation, an organization that created the public-private entity where the test was created.

He says the test's ease of application sets it apart from its rivals and allows for mass testing.

"The costs are low, about $8 USD and it's easy given the time it takes and that it can be used on an outpatient basis for massive testing. Its availability is bigger than current techniques."

It works by mixing a liquid solution in the sample, with coloring determining the status of the patient - violet means negative and blue is positive for COVID-19.

Argentina's government says the first 10,000 tests will be produced over the next ten days and will be used by the public health sector.

And according to Roberto Carlos Salvarezza, the country's science, technology and innovation minister, Argentina is willing to supply other nations with this rapid test:

"This (test) allows for provisions for the country, of which (Argentina) will be its main beneficiary and it is going to have priority. Of course we are willing to supply not only our neighbours but other countries (with the test). In fact, there has already been contact with foreign embassies on the possibility of accessing this (test) kit."

More than 108,000 tests have been carried out in Argentina so far and more than 380 deaths from the virus have been reported.