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Canon Medical announces development of rapid genetic testing for COVID-19

Canon Medical announces development of rapid genetic testing for COVID-19
(Image credit: Canon Medical Systems)

Canon's medical division has announced that it is commencing development of a rapid genetic testing system for novel coronavirus. 

Canon Medical Systems Corporation, in cooperation with Nagasaki University, is taking part in the research program led by the Japan Agency for Medical Research, which is focused on producing diagnostic tools for the current COVID-19 pandemic. 

The news comes following the recent breakthrough made by Fujifilm's medical division (opens in new tab) in producing a drug that successfully treats coronavirus.

It all serves as a valuable reminder that some of the major camera and optics companies, such as Canon, Fujifilm and Olympus, actually have sizable medical divisions that are as (or, in this case, even more) important than the imaging businesses that they are better known for.

The official statement from Canon Medical is as follows:

Canon U.S.A., Inc., a leader in digital imaging solutions, today announced that Canon Medical Systems Corporation (Canon Medical) announced the start of development of a rapid genetic testing system for the novel coronavirus (COVID-19), reaffirming Canon Medical's commitment to the basic research and development of rapid diagnostic test kits. This project is part of a research program focusing on the development of diagnostic methods for COVID-19 led by the Japan Agency for Medical Research.

Canon Medical was selected to participate in this research program in cooperation with Nagasaki University. This was in recognition of Canon Medical's strength in leveraging its technologies in delivering practical solutions to support medical emergencies, notably by supplying Ebola rapid test kits to the Republic of Guinea in 20152, donating Ebola rapid test kits to the Democratic Republic of the Congo in 2019, and through the manufacturing approval and sale of the Genelyzer KIT (a reagent kit for Zika virus RNA testing) in 2018.

The test and the reagents being developed for COVID-19 RNA testing is based on the LAMP method developed by Eiken Chemical Co., Ltd., and are to be used with a compact isothermal amplified gene fluorescent detector manufactured by Canon Medical to detect the presence of virus. Compared to the conventional test method of real-time PCR, the LAMP method allows for detection of the virus to be performed more easily and quickly, which makes it suitable for testing in local areas where infection is prevalent.

Read more: 

Stuck at home: 11 fantastic photo projects to try indoors during the COVID-19 crisis (opens in new tab)
Fujifilm's medical division successful in treating COVID-19 (opens in new tab)
Canon VR camera? A full-frame mirrorless VR camera is being designed (opens in new tab)

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The editor of Digital Camera World, James has 21 years experience as a magazine and web journalist and started working in the photographic industry in 2014 (as an assistant to Damian McGillicuddy, who succeeded David Bailey as Principal Photographer for Olympus). In this time he shot for clients as diverse as Aston Martin Racing, Elinchrom and L'Oréal, in addition to shooting campaigns and product testing for Olympus, and providing training for professionals. This has led him to being a go-to expert for camera and lens reviews, photographic and lighting tutorials, as well as industry analysis, news and rumors for publications such as Digital Camera Magazine (opens in new tab)PhotoPlus: The Canon Magazine (opens in new tab)N-Photo: The Nikon Magazine (opens in new tab)Digital Photographer (opens in new tab) and Professional Imagemaker, as well as hosting workshops and demonstrations at The Photography Show (opens in new tab). An Olympus and Canon shooter, he has a wealth of knowledge on cameras of all makes – and a fondness for vintage lenses and instant cameras.