Breathe and wait no more than 18 minutes for an accurate result. That’s the experience that imec aims for with its COVID-19 testing tool.
Testing, testing, testing. From the outset of the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s been clear what’s one of the most effective routes towards a normal life.
Widespread, daily testing is essential for assessing the spread of a pandemic. And by quickly identifying and isolating contagious colleagues, customers, concert-goers, ... we should be able to limit its economic and social impact.
But especially when it comes to that second objective, current testing methods fall short. With its coronavirus breath sampler, imec aims to remedy those shortcomings and introduce fast, easy and accurate identification of viral diseases that are transmitted by exhaled particles.
Imec strongly believes in the power of aerosols for diagnostics and for gaining insights in disease transmissions. That's why this new test is not based on exhaled volatile organic compounds (VOCs) but on RT-qPCR. This last technique is also practiced in clinical laboratories to achieve high sensitivity and specificity.
Watch the video to see how the new test combines the ease of a breath sampler with the sensitivity of a PCR analysis.
A breath-based testing device that's derived from imec's breath sampler concept will be:
That makes it ideal for use in airports, to prevent the global spread of new variants. It's also perfect for preventing infections in setting such the the workplace, mass events, ...
The novel coronavirus is only contagious for a relatively short period of time – mostly before the patient develops symptoms. That makes it a challenge to identify spreaders of the disease.
Current testing methods can’t adequately ascertain whether someone can pass on the virus:
Current test methods come with other drawbacks as well. The nasal swabs used for PCR and rapid antigen tests are experienced as uncomfortable to say the least. And PCR and serological tests need to be administered by medical personnel.
Imec leverages silicon chip technology to develop a new testing approach. We've developed a breath sampler that detects COVID-19 viral particles that are contained in aerosols and droplets.
Explore this article for more details about imec’s coronavirus breath sampler.
Imec performed several clinical studies and submitted the results for peer review. We can share them with you under an NDA. The graph below gives you a glimpse of the results.
Because this solution is based on standard chip technology, it’s mass-producible. It can be quickly made accessible in unlimited amounts to fight the human and economic effects of COVID-19 – and of future pandemics that spread via exhaled particles. We're also looking at applications beyond covid, such as other infectious diseases or cancers.
Want to get involved in this project? Feel free reach out.