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Central Texas company develops technology to verify COVID-19 tests

As Texas begins to reopen businesses, keeping everyone safe is a priority.

SAN MARCOS, Texas — There has been an ongoing push to test people for COVID-19. So far, more than 290,000 Texans have been tested. But those tests aren't always reliable, sometimes giving false positives and false negatives.

One local tech company says it has a solution.

“My husband and I haven't left our house in about 40 days,” Emily Delgado said.

For nearly two full months, the Delgados have been quarantining in their home. Both Emily Delgado and her husband were diagnosed with coronavirus.

“It started with a cough and some digestive issues, and then I just ended up having the entire list of symptoms,” she said.

From headaches to needing to catch her breath to diarrhea and super high blood pressure, Delgado's symptoms were much more severe than her husband's.

“It felt like my internal organs were inflamed or swelling. It felt very painful, like they were swelling toward my skin. It was really, really painful and uncomfortable,” she said.

Her fever has lingered, and the health department is monitoring her. She’s told her temperature needs to be 100.3 or below for three days and then she will be considered recovered.

As an associate principal with Pflugerville ISD, Delgado wants to get back to work, but she's worried.

“Having had this illness, it terrifies me, it really does. Getting back out there, being around other people,” she said. “It's scary. There's no solid assurance you have that people that are out there at the grocery stores and jogging trails don't have, aren't carriers or don't have something that just hasn't emerged yet. So I do think there needs to be something to help us feel more safe."

Those worries are why Delgado was excited to learn what is happening in a small San Marcos lab.

Researchers at Quantum Materials Corp. have developed a program to get people back to work safely.

“The value of testing is only good if you have a way to authenticate the testing and the test results,” said Stephen Squires, the CEO and founder of Quantum Materials Corp.

Squires said the technology was initially used to develop a track-and-trace system to identify counterfeit products, but he saw the ability to help the medical community and QDX Health ID was born.

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“We are two-plus years ahead of everyone, using a system that can track who had the virus, who has the virus, who doesn't have it, where did they get tested, where the test was provided,” said Les Paull, DBA, the director of global sales for Quantum Materials Corp.

The technology will certify who is cleared to go back to work and who needs further testing. It will also help determine which tests are giving more accurate results.

“You can have 20 different test kits and unless we can tell which ones are actually performing at a high efficiency, one may get a false positive or a negative. With a kit that has a 50% accuracy, there's no way of knowing if that person is immune or not, so this data system will be able to significantly reduce the errors associated with many of these test kits,” Paull said.

All you'll need is the app. Color coding makes it easy to read and understand.

“It allows you, on your cellphone, to show that you are either immune or 'I don't have the virus,'” Squires said.

“People can just show the green light on the app. 'I'm clear, I can go' and then we know then we are safe,” Delgado said.

It provides peace of mind for people like Delgado, who is still wondering how she contracted COVID-19.

“That sense of safety and security is paramount, and we have to be able to give that back to people without a false sense of that. It's got to be genuine,” Delgado said.

The QDX Health ID and the technology associated with it is HIPAA-compliant, so no one will get your personal information. And the cost for something like this is reasonable: around $2. Company leaders are in talks with State and federal governments around the globe.

WATCH: The importance of COVID-19 contact tracing

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