LabAnywhere: Technology for Detection of Coronavirus in Remote Settings

Whelan, William M | $355,982

Prince Edward Island University of Prince Edward Island 2020 CIHR Operating Grant

The COVID‑19 disease is caused by a virus. Since the symptoms of the COVID‑19 disease are similar to many other illnesses, accurate detection and correct identification of the virus in a patient is important to know whether or not the patient is suffering from COVID‑19 versus another disease. The current gold-standard detection uses sophisticated molecular biology that must be done in a laboratory by trained technicians. Our research team has developed LabAnywhere, a system intended for rugged use in agriculture. Its called LabAnywhere because it is designed for use in a barn or farm field where there may not be any clean enclosed space to do complex sample handling. The viruses are different in veterinary medicine, but with some modifications, the technology can be applied to human diseases in remote settings. The proposed research will piggyback upon existing projects. The research team; a design engineer, along with experts in medical biophysics, protein chemistry, and veterinary diseases have been testing a pen-side system for the livestock industries. The design is a simple, easy to deploy handheld system for a molecular biologic assay where there is no laboratory available, such as on a ship at sea or in a remote community many days travel from a laboratory. The project will use easily handled, safe viruses from the animal world for initial testing to validate the methods, then move to tests using human viruses once initial trials are complete.

With funding from the Government of Canada

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