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SARS-CoV-2 Test Uses Innovative Digital Microfluidics Technology for Accurate RT-PCR Testing with Rapid Turn-Around Time

By LabMedica International staff writers
Posted on 07 Apr 2021
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Image: FINDER 1.5 Instrument (Photo courtesy of Baebies)
Image: FINDER 1.5 Instrument (Photo courtesy of Baebies)
A new RT-PCR test uses innovative digital microfluidics (DMF) technology for the qualitative detection of RNA from the SARS-CoV-2 virus in nasopharyngeal and nasal swab specimens within 17 minutes.

Baebies (Durham, NC, USA) has received acknowledgement from the US Food & Drug Administration (FDA) for the company’s Emergency Use Notification (EUN) for an RT-PCR test to detect SARS-CoV-2 on its FINDER 1.5 Instrument. The company’s FINDER SARS‑CoV-2 Test is intended for the qualitative detection of RNA from the SARS-CoV-2 virus in nasopharyngeal and nasal swab specimens with RT-PCR performed within 17 minutes.

The FINDER 1.5 platform includes a toaster-sized instrument and disposable single-use cartridge and features a small footprint at just 8 inches wide with a commercial tablet interface, easy and intuitive workflow, and DMF technology, which minimizes sample and reagent volumes. The underlying DMF technology is a method to programmably manipulate tiny droplets of liquid by electrical control of surface tension on a disposable cartridge. Baebies’ DMF technology is protected by several hundred patents. Digital microfluidics supports multifunctional assay methods – including molecular, immunoassay, and chemistry – on the same cartridge. Baebies recently won the 2020 AACC Disruptive Technology Award for FINDER in a competition emerging as the next innovative testing solution that will transform patient care.

“Our FINDER SARS-CoV-2 test combines the accuracy of RT-PCR testing with a rapid turn-around time, which is made possible by our innovative digital microfluidics technology,” said Richard West, Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Baebies. “We are launching the FINDER 1.5 Instrument and FINDER SARS-CoV-2 Test to address the continued need for access to fast and accurate testing in health care facilities with high complexity laboratories.”

“In development of our FINDER SARS-CoV-2 Test, we focused on accelerating RT-PCR and sample processing for rapid results through several innovations – all made possible by digital microfluidics,” added Vamsee Pamula, co-founder and President. “This technology powers both our diagnostic platform, FINDER, and FDA-authorized newborn screening platform, SEEKER. Baebies’ core focus still remains neonatal and pediatric diagnostics, however, the current COVID-19 pandemic doesn’t distinguish between children and adults – everyone is at risk.”

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