Iran claims device can 'diagnose coronavirus in five seconds'

Iran's Revolutionary Guards claim to have invented 'magnetic technology' to detect coronavirus from 100 metres
2 min read
15 April, 2020
A new Iranian army invention can allegedly detect the coronavirus in a 100-metre radius, inviting wide-scale skepticism.
IRGC is a notorious branch of Iranian military [Getty Images]
Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) unveiled a new technology on Wednesday, which it claims can detect people within a 100-metre radius carrying the coronavirus and diagnose it within seconds.

The Iranian official agency, IRNA, quoted IRGC's commander saying that the "achievement" is "unique" and has been developed by IRGC's notorious paramilitary force, the Basij.

IRGC Major-General Hossein Salami claimed that the Iranian creation could detect the virus on contaminated surfaces - as well as in people - through a "magnetic field", according to the news agency.

Critics have been quick to jump on the group's claims of its "revolutionary" discovery.

The "unveiling ceremony" of the invention - broadcast live on television - was nothing short of a farcical display, critics said, who accused the IRGC of deliberately spreading misinformation.

Salami has additionally claimed that patients will not need to undergo "blood tests," as the device would work remotely over a 100-metre distance.  

Based on preliminary tests conducted in several hospitals, the machine has proved 80 percent effective in detections at the given range, the army commander said.

Read also: Why sanctions on Iran should be lifted now

The Guards – a notorious branch of the Iranian military –became the subject of widespread mockery on Twitter, after its outlandish claims were spread online. 

"I love them claiming to [demonstrate] something with 100-meter range while wearing masks because they're worried about things in a 2-meter range," a sceptical Twitter user opined.

Others called out the national agency for "spreading fake news".

"#Iran the wonderland!" another person wrote. 

Iran has become the epicentre of the coronavirus pandemic in the Middle East, recording 76,389 infections and a total of 4,777 coronavirus-related deaths as of Wednesday.

There are currently two tests being used globally to detect Covid-19 – polymerise chain reaction (PCR) and antibody testing.

The PCR – producing 80 to 85 percent accurate results in around 45 minutes – is used to test for active coronavirus infections, while anti-body tests run a blood sample to check for antibodies created post-infection.

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