Within the Pompeu Fabra University (UPF) #UPFContraElCoronavirus crowdfunding initiative, a new project has been launched. It consists on rapid tests that will detect SARS-CoV-2. The detection — a 20-30-minute process — will be ultrarapid and ultrasensitive, combining the speed of an ELISA test with the reliability of a PCR. It will be done from nasopharyngeal samples.
InstaCOVID19 is the name of the project, led by the head of the Integrative Biomedical Materials and Nanomedicine Lab Research Group at the Department of Experimental and Health Sciences, Pompeu Fabra University (DCEXS-UPF), Pilar Rivera. Timely or regular donations to help fund the project can be made on the campaign web page.
“One of its great potentials, in addition to its ability to diagnose multiple pathogens in parallel, is that it can be used to perform population screenings. This allows identifying ‘apparently healthy’ individuals who constitute the main factor for the transmission of the virus”
But, what advantages does InstaCOVID19 have over other existing diagnostic methods?
- It is possible to configure tests easily and anywhere.
- It can quickly detect low concentrations of virus
- Untrained staff performing the test will get an unequivocal result from the instrument.
- The authorities will be able to instantly access the obtained data.
- Detecting up to 30 (theoretically) pathogens using just one sample.
- The method can be easily adapted to detect mutations of SARS-CoV-2 or other viruses.
The team hopes a validated prototype will be ready within 6 months.