UCL Institute of Ophthalmology


A new study presents a non invasive and low cost method of testing for COVID-19

28 June 2021

Phone Screen Testing (PoST) is an accurate, non-invasive, and low-cost method of testing for COVID-19 using samples taken from the screens of mobile phones.


The study, led by UCL IoO's Dr Rodrigo Young, was published in eLife last week.

Phone Screen Testing (PoST) detected the COVID-19 virus on the phones of 81 to 100% of contagious people with a high viral load, suggesting it is as accurate as antigen lateral flow tests.

Dr Rodrigo Young said:

Like many, I was very worried about the economic and social impact that the pandemic would leave behind, particularly in lower-income countries. We knew that the only effective way to stop the spreading is to regularly test as many people as possible, but this was not happening because it’s too expensive and uncomfortable. We immediately knew this was something special, as PoST is a method that would not only make COVID-19 mass testing much easier but could also be used to contain outbreaks of new naturally occurring and man-made viruses, to avoid future pandemics.

Diagnosis Biotech, a Chilean startup founded by UCL’s Dr Young, is currently developing a machine which will build on this research, safely taking a phone for PoST sampling and delivering the results directly via SMS to minimise contact.