Portable genetic test for COVID-19

Cell ID Pte. Ltd., a Singapore-incorporated med-tech company, is selling a palm-sized portable genetic test kit that uses an app on a laptop to detect, anywhere, at any time, if a person has COVID-19.

“Quiz PCR Biochips are affordable, single-use genetic tests that can detect COVID-19, anywhere at any time,” says Xander Sim, the Chief Technology Officer and co-founder of Cell ID.

  • Using a nasal swab or saliva specimen, this portable genetic test uses biotechnology to determine in minutes, anywhere, anytime, if a person has COVID-19 or not
  • Designed and developed in Singapore, the test is commercially-ready*

30 November 2020, SINGAPORE — Cell ID Pte. Ltd., a Singapore-incorporated med-tech company, is selling a palm-sized portable genetic test kit that uses an app on a laptop to detect, anywhere, at any time, if a person has COVID-19. Called the Quiz PCR Biochip, the test uses biotechnology to perform two tests at a time outside of the laboratory.

Positive results are confirmed in as fast as five minutes and negative results are returned within an hour. A QR code on the biochip also offers traceability which allows healthcare providers to quickly identify, and electronically deliver the test results to the person being tested. 

“Quiz PCR Biochips are affordable, single-use genetic tests that can detect COVID-19, anywhere at any time,” says the inventor, Xander Sim, who is the Chief Technology Officer and co-founder of Cell ID. “Currently, we can manufacture 8.5 million biochips in a month, which is 17 million tests.”

To operate the test, less than two hours of training is required. The test requires a tiny amount (10µl) of a nasal swab or saliva specimen to be applied to the biochip, which when plugged into a laptop, runs a real-time RT-LAMP assay for the qualitative detection of SARS-CoV-2 RNA. Two genetic tests are able to run concurrently using the same or different protocol - PCR tests or RT-LAMP assay. The biochips are hot-swappable, meaning that the pairs of tests can run on demand without the waiting time associated with batch processing.

“We designed the Quiz PCR Biochip to be free of the cold-chain limitations of conventional tabletop PCR tests found in laboratories,” added Sim. “The Quiz PCR Biochip is capable of thermocycling for PCR tests, as well as single temperature operation for RT-LAMP assay. Our RT-LAMP assay fully meets the 95%CI accuracy standard.”

The efficacy of the biochips has been tested in Singapore in collaboration with local healthcare agencies at two quarantine facilities (EXPO and a foreign workers dormitory) between July and October 2020. And separately, a third-party laboratory validated the test’s efficacy in Switzerland in November 2020.

*Subject to regulatory approval


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About Cell ID

Established in 2013, Cell ID Pte. Ltd. is a Singapore-incorporated med-tech company that is a design, research, developer, and manufacturer of point-of-care rapid diagnostic tests. The company focuses on developing and manufacturing near-field Point-of-Care (nf-POC) and decentralised molecular diagnostic platform technologies.

Cell ID was co-founded by Xander Sim, who is the inventor and developer of the single-use Quiz biochip PCR platform technology for testing Malaria parasitaemia, HIV viral load, and COVID-19. Quiz SARS-CoV-2 NAT uses real-time RT-LAMP, and fully meets the 95%CI accuracy standard. Cell ID obtained patent-granted status for the heating element used in the Quiz Biochip platform technology from the US Patent Office, along with patents granted by national Patent Offices in Japan, Taiwan, Africa, Indonesia, Europe, China, and Singapore.

Founded on the principle of “What we can buy, we don’t make ourselves”, Cell ID uses open innovation, and collaboration to develop new technologies from old ones. They recycle mature technologies by using standardised, off-the-shelf techniques and materials in a new way, which helps to achieve economies of scale and saves resources and time. For example, Cell ID repurposed large format printing methodology to create the printed biosensors and heaters contained in the Quiz PCR Biochip. www.cid.com.sg


Xander Sim, Co-founder and Chief Technology Officer

Cell ID Pte. Ltd.

Singaporean Xander Sim, 56, survived two strokes and battles residual ailments, yet is determined to deliver his life’s mission – affordable medical diagnosis to everyone, anywhere, and at any time.

Xander conceived and developed Cell ID’s flagship product, Quiz Biochip PCR Platform Technology. In 2018, Xander’s invention was granted its first patent related to the Quiz PCR Biochip by the US Patent Office. Quiz PCR Biochip is the smallest, most economical, commercially ready (pending regulatory approval), genetic test that can be used outside of a laboratory.

The affordable test platform was invented to help people in developing and rural communities to run quality lab test services outside of a conventional laboratory. His personal mission is to expand the technology to facilitate personalised medicine for patients with chronic diseases such as cancer, and to potentially use the platform for personalised medicine - self-diagnosis and early detection of diseases.

Xander attained a Masters in Science from the University of Liverpool in the UK.


  1. The RT-LAMP assay used to test for SARS-CoV-2 is designed to run on the Quiz Biochip POC PCR platform which requires the POCHE dongle and Quiz App software
  2. Up to two (2) tests per biochip can be performed simultaneously, running the same or different protocols
  3. A single laptop set-up can perform up to 150 RT-LAMP reactions simultaneously
  4. The Quiz App application is intended for professional use with minimal training
  5. Quiz is a molecular-based Platform Technology for Point of Care diagnostics
  6. Quiz PCR Biochips are economical and operate without expensive equipment
  7. There are 3 key components to the Quiz SARS-CoV-2 NAT test. Each Quiz SARS-CoV-2 NAT kit pack (C-C11-01) contains:

i.    Quiz PCR biochip (PCR-On-Chip), LAMP Beads, (Reagents, Controls) and other materials for 50 RT LAMP reactions

ii.   POCHE (C-P11-01/C-P12-01) is a USB dongle that controls the RT-LAMP processes on the Quiz PCR biochip

iii. Quiz App (S-S11-01) is the App that runs on Windows OS based laptops and desktops, for PCR, test data collection, storage, and transmission 

8. Quiz PCR Biochip’s RT-LAMP assay fully meets the 95%CI accuracy standard
9. Samples to result in up to 60 mins. Positive results return in as fast as 5 minutes, or negative results within 60 minutes
10. The kit is compact and scalable (POCHE dimension: 104mm (L) x 59mm (W) x 18mm (H))
11. No cold chain is required for storage or transportation
12. LAMP Beads can be stored, or transported, at temperatures ranging from 4°C to 30°C