Magnetofluidic Cartridge Platform Offers Rapid PCR Test Results

May, 2021 - By SMI

Magnetofluidic Cartridge Platform Offers Rapid PCR Test Results

A team of researchers at Johns Hopkins University and the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine developed a magnetofluidic cartridge platform to decrease the time span of Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) test result.

Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus-2 has affected several people across the globe. The world is now trying to fight with new emerging variants of SARS-CoV-2. The new variants have brought with it challenges and concerns related to vaccination efficacy, public health responses, and diagnostic sensitivity. There are speculations that along with other seasonal or endemic respiratory viruses COVID-19 will remain in circulation. Symptoms that are similar to COVID-19 such as influenza are present in the seasonal and other endemic respiratory viruses as well.

A team of researchers at Johns Hopkins University and the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine devised a magnetofluidic cartridge platform for automated PCR test in less than 30 minutes to conduct rapid multiplexed screening of pathogens specially SARS-CoV-2 using distinct variant mutations or Influenza A and B. There are other technologies such as genome sequencing for identifying virus variants and infectious pathogens. However, these technologies are complex and expensive at the same time and thereby, restricts its wide adoption. The nucleic acid amplification tests (NAATs) can be used as a substitute, although, it has its limitations such as long turnaround time and high cost per test. In an attempt to overcome these limitations, the researchers in this study developed this magnetofluidic cartridge platform, which is an imaging-based portable platform where the magnetic beads move through distinct droplets of reagents in order to purify, capture, and transfer analytes for detection or amplification. The researchers developed two different assay cartridges. One is for the detection and differentiation of SARS-CoV-2 and its variants and the other one is for multiplexed screening of SARS-CoV-2 using Influenza A and Influenza B. It is important to note that the platform demonstrated successful detection of all SARS-CoV-2 positive samples with no false positives.

The findings of the study are significant as multiplexed respiratory pathogen test can be conducted in any setting with minimum training and the test results can be notified to the patient immediately.

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