Since March 2020, the world is facing the Covid-19 pandemic. As of September 2020, over 900 000 people have died of the disease, caused by the SARS-CoV-2 virus. The WHO recommendations in order to limit the spread of the virus are to “test, trace and isolate”. To be successful, this strategy requires fast and massive testing. Today, tests are performed using PCR, a resource-intensive process requiring extraction of the viral RNA before nucleic acid amplification. PCR tests are slow (several hours) and require an army of advanced laboratory equipment or automated diagnostic workflow setups for the various steps, and thus prevalent in centralized facilities testing samples in large batches. Consequently, the turn-around time for these tests has proven to be 24-48 hours globally.
Here, we propose to develop a new Covid-19 test, 1-SWITCH, consisting of a single step switchable fluorescent probe assay. The 1-SWITCH technology will use low cost reagents, and therefore will be cheaper than current available Covid-19 tests. The sensitivity of the test will be superior to the one of antigen tests and comparable to the one of PCR tests. This 1-step, 1-tube method will detect the virus directly within minutes and eliminates the assay complexity, thus facilitating smoother workflows in laboratory diagnostics as well as point of care screening. This will consist of a major breakthrough in clinical diagnostics. Plans for bringing our research finding to a commercial innovation are presented.
Fields of science
Call for proposal
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