The sensitivity of rapid tests for COVID-19 detection are presenting countless problems, most of them related with the lack of sensitivity and the huge amount of false negatives. Finding reliable and affordable detection kits is becoming almost impossible in most of the countries, and that is provoking the spread of the virus among the population. Thus, the need of cost effective and reliable rapid tests for its use on the point of care has led Biodevices Technologies, a recently created spin-off of the University of Seville, to the development of an autonomous and automated platform to perform the qPCR technique, with low cost, high precision and sensitivity. This solution improves the reliability of the test as well as the sensitivity for a correct COVID-19 detection. As an engineering company, we provide a tool for its use on detecting COVID-19. However, synergies between our company and partners with experience in the biological field becomes indispensable to finally validate the resulted system.
What it does
Thermocycling of samples for its subsequent detection through fluorescence.
How I built it
It is composed of two parts:
- A disposable cartridge: it is where the thermocycling is carried out. Its main advantage is precisely its fabrication process. It is based on lab-on-chip technologies and protected with international patents. It is cost effective and completely integrable and adaptable.
- The electronic: this part control the whole system, including the liquid movement, heating and temperature control.
Challenges I ran into
• The integration of detection elements together with microfluidic structures.
• The handling and insertion of samples inside the device.
• Finding funding to develop the first prototype.
• Avoiding the RNA extraction.
• The inclusion of enzymes that require storage conditions.
Accomplishments that I'm proud of
• The optimization and integration of an impulsion system with high precision.
• The electronic and software that control the system.
What I learned
The importance of multidisciplinary environment to find synergies and obtain systems with real application and high impact for society.
What's next for Biodevices Technologies
• Adapt the system to allow the quantitative detection of COVID-19 with fast response and low cost through the qPCR technique.
• Validate the functioning of the presented systemthrough the collaboration with expert partners on qPCR.
• Storage the enzymes to perform the qPCR for COVID-19 detection.
• Scale the fabrication process to mass production.
• Commercialize the system.