November 11, 2020

Developing a high-throughput, sensitive RT-qPCR test and rapid, point-of-care RT-LAMP test for the differentiation of SARS-CoV-2 and influenza (CoV-INFect)

Funding scheme:       APVV

Starting Date: 16 September 2020

Duration in months: 18 months

Estimated budget: 396 273,00 €


The global pandemic caused by the 2019 novel coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) has resulted in an extraordinary economic and humanitarian crisis. Although Slovakia has avoided large casualties, we face a challenging path to balance the risk of maintaining an open economy with another potential outbreak of SARS-CoV-2. Public health experts recommend countries implement a comprehensive testing plan together with epidemiological measures such as quarantining infected individuals and contact tracing to mitigate future outbreaks. In this proposal, we aim to develop novel diagnostic tools to strengthen Slovakia’s testing capabilities. First, we propose to improve the sensitivity and specificity of our current vDetect COVID-19 RT-qPCR kit by developing an innovative, dual- hydrolysis probe approach. We will also develop a multiplexed test that combines assays for the SARS-CoV-2 envelope (E) and polymerase (RdRP) genes and human RNase P internal control into a single test, drastically reducing labor, time-to-result, and testing costs. To complement this sensitive, multiplexed RT-qPCR test, we are developing a rapid, point-of-care (PoC) test using isothermal amplification (RT-LAMP) that does not require expensive lab equipment, skilled personnel, and can be deployed to airports, borders, doctor’s offices, rural communities, companies, and mobile testing sites. Since SARS-CoV-2 and influenza share similar symptoms, the upcoming flu season will bring additional challenges to properly diagnosing individuals. Therefore, we propose to develop RT-qPCR and RT-LAMP tests for influenza A and B that can be used in conjunction with the SARS-CoV-2 test to effectively differentiate individuals showing symptoms for both viruses. Our proposal makes significant strides in Slovakia’s comprehensive testing plan by enabling screening/surveillance of the population by central labs, rapid identification of infected individuals at PoC locations, and differentiation of SARS-CoV-2 from the common flu. 

This work was supported by the Slovak Research and Development Agency under the Contract no. PP-COVID-20-0116.

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MultiplexDX is one of the most innovative biotech corporations, created to bring its revolutionary technologies to the market of personalized molecular diagnostics. The company has representation in both U.S. and European markets. The collaborators of MultiplexDX are from the world’s most prestigious scientific organizations including the National Cancer Institute, Rockefeller University, Albert Einstein University, Vanderbilt University, Cornell University, Queens University (Canada), Hebrew University of Jerusalem (Israel), and the Max Delbrück Center for Molecular Medicine (Germany).

MultiplexDX IP-based and innovative platform merges histopathology methods, biomarker quantification, visualization and gene expression with a single-cell resolution by combining MDX proprietary visual and sequencing technologies into one diagnostic test. This cross-validation approach eliminates diagnostic errors and creates 100% precise cancer profiling for each patient which allows clinicians to suggest specific, personalized cancer treatment.

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