Bosch Vivalytic device

Combating the coronavirus pandemic: Bosch develops rapid test for COVID-19

Developed in just six weeks, the rapid test can detect a SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus infection in patients in under two and a half hours. The test for COVID-19 can help medical facilities make fast diagnoses and play a part in containing the coronavirus pandemic.

The coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 is posing major challenges for healthcare systems and medical institutions worldwide. An ability to rapidly diagnose the virus is of invaluable help in curbing its exponential spread in many countries. Bosch’s new, fully automated rapid test for COVID-19 can help medical facilities such as doctors’ offices, hospitals, laboratories, and health centers make fast diagnoses.

The rapid molecular diagnostic test runs on the Vivalytic analysis device from Bosch Healthcare Solutions. “We want the Bosch rapid COVID-19 test to play a part in containing the coronavirus pandemic as quickly as possible. It will speed up the identification and isolation of infected patients,” says Dr. Volkmar Denner, chairman of the board of management of Robert Bosch GmbH.

Portrait of Dr. Volkmar Denner, chairman of the board of management of Robert Bosch GmbH

We want the Bosch rapid COVID-19 test to play a part in containing the coronavirus pandemic as quickly as possible.

Dr. Volkmar Denner, chairman of the board of management of Robert Bosch GmbH

Faster certainty, slower spread

Bosch Vivalytic device

Developed in just six weeks, the rapid test can detect a SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus infection in patients in under two and a half hours — measured from the time the sample is taken to the time the result arrives. Another advantage of the rapid test is that it can be performed directly at the point of care. This eliminates the need to transport samples, which takes up valuable time. It also means patients quickly gain certainty about their state of health, while allowing infected individuals to be identified and isolated immediately. With the tests currently in use, patients must usually wait one to two days for a result. “Time is of the essence in the fight against coronavirus. Reliable, rapid diagnosis directly on site with no back and forth — that is the great advantage of our solution, which we see as another example of technology that is ‘Invented for life,’” Denner says.

Portrait of Marc Meier, president of Bosch Healthcare Solutions GmbH
Marc Meier, president of Bosch Healthcare Solutions GmbH

Bosch’s rapid test is one of the world’s first fully automated molecular diagnostic tests that can be used directly by all medical institutions. What’s more, it allows a single sample to be tested not just for COVID-19 but also for nine other respiratory diseases, including influenza A and B, simultaneously. “The special feature of the Bosch test is that it offers differential diagnosis, which saves doctors the additional time needed for further tests. It also provides them with a reliable diagnosis quickly so they can then begin suitable treatment faster,” says Marc Meier, president of Bosch Healthcare Solutions GmbH. The newly developed test will be available in Germany starting in April, with other markets in Europe and elsewhere to follow.

Bosch’s rapid COVID-19 test is the result of collaboration between the company’s Bosch Healthcare Solutions subsidiary and the Northern Irish medical technology company Randox Laboratories Ltd. “Together with our partner Randox, we have succeeded in developing this innovative rapid test within a very short time frame, and we are now in a position to offer it to the market. The Bosch Vivalytic analysis device evaluates the test safely and reliably directly in the hospital, in the lab, or in the doctor’s office, guaranteeing the best possible protection for patients and medical staff,” Meier says. The company is currently examining how it can help doctors and nursing staff in medical facilities such as the Robert Bosch Hospital get tested promptly so they can be fit to work for as long as possible — with no risk of infecting others.

Up to 1,000

tests per day on just 100 devices

Easy application at the point of care

In various laboratory tests with SARS-CoV-2, the Bosch test delivered results with an accuracy of over 95 percent. The rapid test meets the quality standards of the World Health Organization (WHO). A sample is taken from the patient’s nose or throat using a swab. Then the cartridge, which already contains all the reagents required for the test, is inserted into the Vivalytic device for analysis. During the analysis, medical staff can devote themselves to other tasks, for example treating patients. The Vivalytic analyzer is designed to be so user-friendly that even medical personnel who have not been specially trained on it can reliably perform the test.

A Bosch Vivalytic analyzer can perform up to ten tests in the space of 24 hours. This means it takes just 100 devices to evaluate up to 1,000 tests per day. Given the dynamic spread of the coronavirus SARS-CoV-2, laboratories are already working beyond capacity. The Bosch Vivalytic will thus help to increase available testing capacities.

Questions and answers

What are the advantages of the Bosch COVID-19 test?

The test provides a fast and conclusive result in under 2,5 hours – from sample collection to the result directly at the point of treatment. Infected patients can be isolated quickly to curb the spread of the pandemic and break the chain of infection faster.

Using the Bosch COVID-19 test, a patient sample can be tested for nine other respiratory viruses such as influenza, which can cause similar clinical symptoms, in addition to SARS-CoV-2.

The sample is taken from the nose or throat of the patient using a swab and placed in the cartridge without further complex preparation. This saves valuable time.

The automated processing of the sample in a closed system minimizes the risk of contamination for the personnel.

No cold chain of reagents or cartridge is required to perform the tests, which supports fast evaluation.

Vivalytic is easy and intuitive to operate. The system does not require any additionally trained personnel, so that even hospital or doctor’s practice staff without special laboratory experience can operate Vivalytic.

How does the COVID-19 test from Bosch work?

The COVID-19 quick test from Bosch is one of the world’s first fully automated molecular diagnostic test that is able to determine an infection with SARS-CoV-2 (corona virus) and nine other respiratory viruses within 2,5 hours.

The tests consists of two components: the Bosch Vivalytic analyser and Vivalytic test cartridges. There are biological components in each of the cartridges that are used to prove whether a sample contains SARS-CoV-2 or other pathogens. One cartridge is used for each patient.

After a patient’s sample is inserted into the cartridge, it is put into the Vivalytic analyser. Now, the test runs fully automated. In less than 2,5 hours the reliable results are delivered electronically. Besides SARS-CoV-2 the samples are tested for nine other respiratory viruses such as influenza.

Which pathogens does the test include?

The test includes ten different pathogens for viral respiratory tract infections such as Influenza A and B.

What is the difference to other COVID-19 tests, where the test result is available in a few minutes?

These tests are only able to detect anti-bodies. They are not providing the actual detection of relevant pathogens (viruses). Therefore, the World Health Organization (WHO) does not recommend this type of test.

Which detection method is used in Bosch’s COVID-19 test?

The COVID-19 test is based on a combination of sample preparation (including process controls): Multiplex PCR (Polymerase-Chain-Reaction), μArray-detection to allow the identification of SARS-CoV-2.

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