Luna Nanotech is in the process of developing an automated portable device for diagnosis of infectious pathogens. As part of his PhD project the intern has participated in the development of a rapid multiplex benchtop serological test for Covid-19. In this project the intern will work with Luna Nanotech scientists and engineers to adapt this benchtop serological test to be used in the diagnostic device to allow rapid automated detection of Covid-19 specific antibodies.
Lateral flow assays (LFA) currently used for point-of-care Covid-19 diagnostics suffer from low sensitivity and misdiagnose significant proportion of cases. However, more sensitive PCR and ELISA techniques are too time consuming or complex to be used for rapid results at point-of-care. The automated multiplex platform developed in the project will address this limitation and offer a low cost rapid 20-minute diagnostic test with the sensitivity 1000 times higher than that of LFA.
Rapid diagnostic testing has proven essential for stemming the on-going COVID-19 pandemic. Given the global threat of COVID-19 transmission, millions of tests are needed per month to isolate infections and to facilitate safe reopening of societies. This internship will contribute to COVID-19 diagnosis efforts by first developing a faster and cost-effective protocol for viral nucleic-acid extraction, the first step common to the majority of COVID-19 molecular diagnostic tests.
The intern will be responsible for developing an at-home test within a tablet/pill. Tablets are a familiar house-hold product, that would be intuitive to use and handle. The tablet would automatically break apart the virus, and detect viral genetic material and result in a blue colour. To use the at-home test, the patient would place sample/swab in a reaction tube, place the tablet and add water. After 30 minutes, the patient can take a picture of the solution and upload the result to a database with a barcode identification unique to the patient.
High resolution 3D microscopy is a rapidly growing area of biomedical research, which has high potential to replace traditional 2D histology used for the analysis of tissue biopsies of cancer and other diseases. However, currently there is a limited availability of contrast agents that can label organs, biological tissues, and cells in a live animal and are compatible with these techniques. Mitacs fellows will work to develop a commercial line of labeling probes which are fully compatible with the 3D microscopy.
High resolution 3D microscopy in combination with tissue clearing techniques such as CLARITY, iDISCO, CUBIC is a rapidly growing area of biomedical research. It also has high potential to replace traditional 2D histology to become a method of choice for the analysis of tissue biopsy samples used in diagnosis of cancer and other diseases. However, currently there is a limited availability of contrast agents that can label organs, biological tissues, and cells in a live animal and are compatible with these techniques.
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