COVID-19 Variant Supplement – Development of a portable point-of-care device for rapid testing of SARS-CoV-2

Boudreau, Denis | $50,000

Quebec Université Laval 2021 CIHR Operating Grant

The novel coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) outbreak that started in December 2019 triggered unprecedented measures to avoid a global pandemic. However, China has been particularly hit with over 70 000 confirmed cases, of which about 80% are in Hubei province. Wuhan, capital city of Hubei, is considered ground zero of the outbreak. Testing is typically performed at centralized facilities with highly qualified personnel operating specialized equipment, RT-qPCR being the current method of choice and DNA sequencing a second choice. The response time between sampling patients and obtaining clinically relevant information usually depends on sample shipping time and clinical lab capacity. In this current outbreak containment situation in China, large portions of the population are quarantined, travel is restricted, and clinical labs are operating well over capacity. We propose to develop a rapid point-of-care test to help mitigate the outbreak of COVID-19. The RNA-based test will be performed with a high sensitivity, label-free sensing method. RNA purification and amplification will not be required. The instrumentation needed will be portable and lightweight to enable frontline workers to rapidly test for SARS-CoV-2. The assay will be developed with an easy-to-use platform that can be operated by untrained personnel. It can thereby be deployed locally, within regions of quarantine at a temporary health centers and neighbourhood clinics, reducing flow of people in urban centers; it can be shipped and used in remote or isolated areas including cruise ships

With funding from the Government of Canada

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