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PCR lab-on-chip system for rapid and sensitive identification of SARS-CoV-2 infected case

COVID-19 Research Area(s): Diagnostics, Genomics & Transmission Dynamics, Equipment & Technology Innovations

There is an urgent call for development of fast and sensitive diagnostic tools for early and on-site detection of infected individuals for containment of the current COVID-19 outbreak. These tools should also require minimal training procedures so that personnel with different backgrounds can run them on-site and get accurate data in short periods of time. In response to this need, here through an interdisciplinary research we aim to develop a novel, portable PCR lab-on-chip system to detect infected individuals with SARS-CoV-2 (in replacement of sending samples to specific labs for analysis, which may take days). It is noteworthy that the cost of the tests via the proposed system is estimated to be about $3/test, i.e. significantly lower than current detection methods. For the new tool, we are proposing to use self-collecting, non-invasive saliva sampling, which can be achieved even at individuals’ homes.

A Mitacs Accelerate intern at Dr. Hoorfar’s laboratory will lead the microchip fabrication and merge the maglev system to the detection and visualization unit (Task 2). Intern 1 will assess the sensitivity and specificity of the developed tool using non-clinical samples (Task 2) and then clinical samples (Task 3). Interns will also communicate the results with industry and plan for the automatization system and assess its performance on clinical samples. The automation will allow the tools to be used by any non-expert individual. The up-scaling and mass production will be led and covered financially by industry partners upon the lab-scale validation of the system through this Mitacs project.