Development of COVID-19 Rapid Diagnostic Test
The current workflow for COVID-19 testing is overwhelmed for many reasons including the need for time-consuming sample preparation, the limited availability of test reagent, and the length of time it takes to complete the test process (approximately 3 hours). As the test-and-trace approach is critical to containing the spread of this virus, rapid diagnostics are crucial. To improve the testing timeline, diagnostic labs need to process samples quickly, which requires the use of automated tests. The use of magnetic bead technology is highly amenable to automation. However, access to the reagents necessary for RNA extraction has thus far posed a challenge to diagnostic labs worldwide. This project has two aims 1) to develop an automated and rapid manual COVID-19 extraction method utilizing magnetic beads which will permit Canadian sourced reagents and 2) to begin development on a rapid point-of-care COVID-19 test that does not require a skilled laboratory technologist to use. The expected outcome is to have a reliable and rapid COVID-19 detection method that will utilize reagents manufactured in Canada, alleviating the burden on both diagnostic labs and foreign supply chains.