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The novel Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic caused by SARS-CoV-2 virus continues to challenge scientists to find therapeutic treatments to combat the virus and to develop rapid and reliable methods for detection of the virus. Our team aims to contribute to both of these research areas over the next two years. Several Canadian research groups have asked us to test potential antiviral agents (including small peptides, aptamers, interleukins, and photosensitive virucidal dyes) in VERO E6 cell culture infected with COVID-19. ToxGlo® assays will be used to determine efficacy (ED50 values) and to verify that the agents are not cytotoxic at their effective doses. The second area of research is developing an Immunochromatographic (IC) test strip that is based on a microparticle-based sandwich immunotest. The IC test strips would detect COVID-19 surface antigens in oral secretions. An IC test strip for COVID-19 would be another tool in the fight against COVID-19 because it would only take ~15 minutes for results.
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