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Printable POC SARS-CoV-2 Antibody Test for COVID-19 Could Produce Results in Real Time

By LabMedica International staff writers
Posted on 01 Dec 2020
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Image: Printable POC SARS-CoV-2 Antibody Test for COVID-19 Could Produce Results in Real Time (Photo courtesy of Wyss Institute at Harvard University)
Image: Printable POC SARS-CoV-2 Antibody Test for COVID-19 Could Produce Results in Real Time (Photo courtesy of Wyss Institute at Harvard University)
A low-cost electrochemical technology for multiplexed biomarker detection could facilitate global serological testing for SARS-CoV-2 infections, and help trace immunity in individuals over time.

The Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering at Harvard University (Boston, MA, USA) has licensed its eRapid technology to The iQ Group Global (Sydney, Australia) for COVID-19 diagnostic applications.

The eRapid technology is a low-cost, affinity-based electrochemical sensing platform that can multiplex simultaneous detection and quantification of a broad range of biomarkers, including proteins, antibodies, RNA, and small molecules with high sensitivity and selectivity in small quantities of complex biological fluids, such as blood or saliva. The eRapid technology is based on a novel, antifouling nanocomposite coating to which SARS-CoV-2-specific antibodies are attached that capture viral proteins or RNA, or antibodies produced by infected individuals in response to the virus. Upon chemically detecting any one of these virus-specific molecules, the eRapid platform generates an electrical signal, and the strength of that signal correlates directly with the levels of target molecules present in the sample. The antifouling coating enables eRapid technology to provide low cost electrochemical sensors with higher sensitivity and specificity, while the multiplexed nature of the devices allows them to validate diagnosis by quantifying the levels of multiple different viral components and host response molecules. As the coating also allows these devices to be re-used multiple times with consistent specificity and sensitivity, the costs of diagnostic assays can be reduced even further.

The iQ Group Global will integrate the Wyss' eRapid technology with its biosensor platform. A key component of the platform is the company's proprietary Organic Thin Film Transistor technology, which is able to significantly enhance electrical signals such as the ones generated by eRapid, and allow them to be read out in a smart device to provide diagnostic answers in real time. The idea is to coat the sensors designed to detect IgM and/or IgG antibodies, which indicate a person’s current or previous exposure to the SARS-CoV-2 virus and, thus, a potential infection with COVID-19. This could lead to the creation of a chewing-gum-sized diagnostic ‘strip’ that can be used for COVID-19 testing at point of care, with the ability to be printed at scale at a low cost, and produce real-time results.

"Our eRapid technology offers the possibility of developing inexpensive diagnostic tests that have the potential to accurately determine the presence of infection, the stage of the infection, and the patient's response to the virus all simultaneously," said the Wyss' Founding Director Donald Ingber, M.D., Ph.D.

"eRapid's features and capabilities would make it an effective tool for easily tracing active immunity in infected individuals and those that recovered from COVID-19 to help determine their basis for resistance. Such a versatile platform that helps us better understand how the disease develops, persists, and can be controlled could be an invaluable asset in the fight against the pandemic," said Wyss Senior Staff Scientist Pawan Jolly, Ph.D.

"Non-invasive, low cost and scalable SARS-Cov-2 antibody testing is urgently needed to estimate the incidence and prevalence of SARS-Cov-2 infection at the general population level. We intend to focus on placing this SARS-Cov 2-test as a potential companion diagnostic to the vaccination programs globally. Given the analytical characteristics of the biosensor and its stage of development, the combined technologies position us excellently to develop a more accurate, sensitive and real-time SARS-CoV-2 test for diagnostic, point-of-care testing, and pre-vaccination screening to meet this urgent global need," said Dr. George Syrmalis, Group CEO of The iQ Group Global.

Related Links:
Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering at Harvard University
The iQ Group Global

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