A combination host-pathogen rapid diagnostic technology for decentralized monitoring of respiratory infections

Current testing for SARS-CoV-2 focuses on detection of the pathogen via isolated nucleic acids, routinely from nasopharyngeal swabs. To our knowledge, no approved clinical SARS-CoV-2 diagnostic tests using nasopharyngeal swabs incorporate measurements of host responses at the time of diagnosis. Monitoring host responses during SARS-CoV-2 infection is important, as stratification of COVID-19 patients based on host responses is predictive of mortality. Conveniently, host nucleic acids can be isolated from the same swab used for SARS-CoV-2 diagnosis, providing an efficient means for early and simultaneous measurement of both host and viral transcripts.
We will generate algorithms for predicting patient morbidity/mortality and healthcare system utilization by correlating host transcriptome profile from COVID-19 diagnostic swabs with clinical outcomes of cases and controls.
Our results will define the relationship between host transcriptome responses and COVID-19 disease progression will i) identify high-risk patients that would benefit from early intervention strategies and ii) provide predictive capacity for hospitals to efficiently prepare and allocate resources for optimal patient health.

Faculty Supervisor:

Jeremy Hirota


Dayna Mikkelsen


Incubate Innovate Network of Canada




Professional, scientific and technical services


McMaster University


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