Rapid scaling of viral spike protein production for SARS-CoV-2 testing using Phaeodactylum tricornutum

The SARS-CoV-2 virus is currently causing a pandemic that is overburdening the healthcare system and causing unprecedented economic disruptions on a global scale. A method called serological testing uses viral proteins to determine if the someone has been infected and has now become immune to the virus; however, it is currently very expensive to produce. If someone is known to be immune to SARS-CoV-2, then they can go back to work without spreading the virus.
The goal of the project is to facilitate a rapid test to identify people with immunity to SARS-CoV-2. This project will generate the proteins needed for this test using an alga called Phaeodactylum tricornutum. Most of the people affected do not display symptoms and can spread COVID-19 without even knowing it. Furthermore, identifying people who have been exposed would allow the healthcare system to identify people who can return to work without worry.

Intern: 
Daniel James Giguere;Sam Slattery
Faculty Supervisor: 
Gregory Gloor;David Edgell
Province: 
Ontario
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