When we last talked with Dylan Pillai
he had just received funding through the Canadian Institutes of Health and Genome Canada
for a project that sought to develop a rapid COVID-19 test. He had a prototype ready because of his team’s work developing tests for malaria in remote areas lacking in specialized equipment or trained technicians.
This week the team announced that they have validated the track that they have been following. The test uses a different approach than other available test by using a technique called loop mediated amplification (LAMP) which detects viral genetic material in a sample. A pre-print of the study (which means it has not been peer-reviewed yet) has shown LAMP to “100 per cent specific and greater than 90 per cent sensitive compared to other molecular methods”. Not only is it quick and relatively easy to deploy you can see the results with a quick look (Green is positive in the image at left courtesy of the University of Calgary).
With the proof the chemistry works the next step is to refine the prototype and the chemistry to make it a hand-held, point of care tool to detect viruses away from hospital or lab settings.
Freelance broadcaster talked with Dylan Pillai about this important step in the process and you can also read the media release
for more information.