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Boise startup reworks CBD and THC testing technology to test for COVID-19 in minutes

The company still needs to secure more funding and get through clinical trials before their machines can be rolled out for mass use.

BOISE, Idaho — A Boise startup is reworking its roadside THC and CBD testing equipment to test samples for COVID-19 in minutes - five minutes to be exact. However, the company still has several hurdles in front of it before these machines could be used.

Facible, a Boise-based company that was founded last May, originally built the machines to test hemp and CBD. The company started reworking the machines when the startup's CEO watched how the coronavirus spread across the globe.

The machines address the growing issue of the last of tests and the time it takes to get results back for COVID-19 testing. But unlike typical testing machines, it doesn't test for antibodies, according to CEO Steven Burden.

"It's not the traditional test which is what most, 90% of the market right now, and it's not a stereological test, meaning you don't need blood for it so we're not testing for antibodies we're actually testing for the presence of viral proteins and it's actually different from anything else on the market right now in terms of how fast it is and how accurate it is," Burden explained to KTVB during a phone interview on Saturday.

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He said their current main issue is securing funding that would go towards building more equipment. After that, Burden explained that the machines would need to get through clinical trials to ensure that they are working properly.

"We're launching with COVID-19 because the regulations have dropped, they don't have that year-long FDA approval process," he added.

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Burden said his company's technology can also be used outside of the medical field. The machines were originally meant to be used to test CBD in plants or by law enforcement to conduct roadside tests for THC. 

In the future, these machines could find themselves on farms, where farmers could test their crops or dairy for various things like antibiotics. Those plans are still in play for Facible but have just taken a backseat because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Burden said they would like to launch the machines by the beginning of June.

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