The Diagnostic, PCR-based Test to Detect SARS-CoV2 RNA (COVID-19): Solving the Global Shortage of the Key Organic Building Block Using Flow Chemistry

Testing for SARS-CoV2, the virus that caused the condition known as COVID-19, is done using a RT (reverse transcriptase) PCR-based test to detect the target viral RNA. These probes are prepared by conventional solid phase synthesis on controlled pore glass using O-DMT-(2-N-FMOC-4’-aminobutyl)-1,3-propanediol (OFP) as the linker. Approximately 1 kilogram of OFP has been manufactured per year for the last decade to meet all diagnostic and academic research needs; since the pandemic outbreak, the need for this material has increased 20-fold. Consequently, there is a critical global shortage of COVID-19 test kits. The main step in the production of OFP is a hydride reduction step that is very dangerous to perform, especially on a large scale. The Organ group will develop a flow chemistry route for the preparation of OFP using proprietary technology invented by them. This technology will then be transferred from the Organ lab in Ottawa to the production facility in Toronto at TRC.

Faculty Supervisor:

Michael Organ


Juergen Schulmeister;Aliakbar Mohammadzadeh


Toronto Research Chemicals


Biochemistry / Molecular biology




University of Ottawa


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