A new test detects 5 respiratory infections quickly and cheaply

It is in the prototype phase, it is capable of analyzing up to six samples at the same time, in 30 minutes and with a cost that the researchers calculate at 1 euro per sample.

EFE Valencia

A team from the Universitat Politècnica de València has developed a new test, based on compact disc technology, which allows for the rapid, simple and very low-cost detection of up to
five respiratory infections different: covid-19, Influenza A, Influenza B, Adenovirus and Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV).

The new test, in the prototype phase, is capable of analyzing up to six samples at the same time, in 30 minutes and at a cost that the researchers calculate at 1 euro per sample, according to sources from the academic institution.

The UPV team, coordinated by Professor Ángel Maquieira, belonging to the Institute for Molecular Recognition and Technological Development (IDM) of the UPV, has had the collaboration of the University of Valencia (UV) and the Clinical Hospital of València-Institute INCLIVA Health Research.

The biosensing system -test- is made up of a micro-perforated transparent disc with
microfluidic structures in which the samples to be analyzed are deposited, and a DVD-type compact disc reader adapted with technology developed by the UPV research group.

"When a person tests positive, the sample generates an optical signal that the reader interprets and determines whether the patient is infected or not and what pathology they are suffering from," explains Sergi Morais, professor at the Department of Chemistry and researcher at the IDM Institute of the UPV and one of the creators of the test.

The device devised by the UPV team
allows simultaneous detection of both viral antigens in nasopharyngeal swab samples and the presence of specific antiviral antibodies in human serum samples.

“The main advantage of this system is the possibility of simultaneously identifying and discriminating several respiratory diseases in a single test. Both nasopharyngeal samples and human serum samples can be analyzed in the same device«, according to Maquieira.

In addition, he indicates, it offers some
fast and reliable resultsat a very low cost, which makes it a “very attractive solution for implementation at clinical points of care”.

Another feature that differentiates this device -in the prototype phase- from others on the market is its versatility, since it would be capable of
detect new variants of interest, and other microorganismswho meet in the same period of the year.

“This multiple and rapid detection has not been reported, up to now, by any other type of rapid testing device”, comments William Teixeira, also an IDM researcher and another of the developers of the test.

Validated in the clinical hospital and in the UP

To obtain real samples, the IDM-UPV team has worked in collaboration with the Clinical Hospital and the Juana Portaceli Occupational Health Center of the UPV.

analyzed
287 real samplesfrom individuals suspected of COVID-19, between symptomatic or asymptomatic, and the validation was carried out by comparison with commercially established methods, either rapid antigen detection with reactive strips or antibody detection using ELISA assays.

“100% of the samples that were positive to the test strip test (Abbot) were also detected as positive by our biosensor. In the case of covid-19, the ability to
positive outcome prediction and negative of the tests is, respectively, 88 and 98% for the serological test, and 95 and 100% for the antigen test”, explains Sergi Morais.

Ideal for mass testing

The device has great potential for carrying out massive tests, and is especially useful for the management of population screening, since it can be used in
luGares with a large influx of people such as airports, schools, hospitals or sports stadiums.

In addition, due to the versatility of the solution, the device could be used in future health emergency situations, due to epidemics or pandemics, since it allows the integration of other new viruses or strains of interest.

"You can even consider its use to evaluate the effectiveness of vaccination of the population, since it also
allows to analyze the antibodies of people who have already suffered or are suffering from any of these diseases", adds Teixeira.

The work has been published in the journal Biosensors and Bioelectronics and researchers from the Departments of Microbiology and Physical Chemistry of the University of Valencia and the Microbiology Service of the Hospital Clínico Universitario de València have also participated in it, under the direction of Dr. David Navarro, principal investigator of the INCLIVA Molecular Microbiology and Microbial Pathogenesis Research Group.

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