• Source : Press Release
  • Date : 2020-05-21
  • Event type : Research
  • Companies : CEITEC

CEITEC Researchers are Developing Faster Testing for COVID-19

Experts from the CEITEC research institute of Masaryk University (MU) want to expand the possibilities and simplify testing for the presence of the coronavirus SARS-CoV-2. Researchers from the Technology Agency of the Czech Republic received financial support in the amount of 1.7 million crowns for the development of a new methodology, thanks to which the analysis of samples from people with suspected COVID-19 disease could be performed faster.

Filip Pardy and Kristýna Brzobohatá

Researchers from the Central Laboratory of Genomics want to verify within eight months the possibilities of a method called RT-LAMP, which can detect the presence of genetic information of a particular virus or other microorganism in a particular sample. "The advantage of this method is that it is not very demanding on the purity of the input material. We will deal with it, whether it will be possible for phase miss isolation of the genetic information of the virus, which occupies the time when the currently used PCR method, " approached the possibility of a new approach Filip Pardy , who leads the research team.

Another advantage of the RT-LAMP method is also its lower demands on the instrumentation and expertise of those who will perform the tests. Experts from the CEITEC MU institute want to examine various possibilities of testing with this method. They hope that this kit will be usable outside the laboratory, for example in sampling cars, and thus shorten the wait for the test result to about an hour.

The team started working on a new type of testing in March, when CEITEC MU offered the capacity of its laboratories and staff to help test people who suspected a new coronavirus infection. "The RT-LAMP method has been used for about twenty years to detect a number of viral diseases in humans and animals, and test kits based on this method are also available worldwide for COVID-19. However, they are not available in the Czech Republic and we would like to prepare a test set that could be taken over by a commercial company and launched on the market, " added Pardy.

The researchers have already done some of the work, they managed to select a set of so-called primers necessary for the detection of a specific virus in the sample. Primers are short sections of DNA that are complementary to a selected section of the genetic information of the virus being searched. The primers "mount" on a given section of his genetic information and start copying it around, and experts find out that the virus is in the sample. If nothing is copied, the virus is not in the sample. to make the new test interesting for industrial partners and to serve the public.

A total of four projects from Masaryk University, which together received support in the amount of 4.1 million crowns, succeeded in an extraordinary call from the Technology Agency of the Czech Republic focused on so-called Proof of Concept projects to verify whether the procedures proposed by scientists can be used in practice. The call was launched in March and focused directly on projects to help prevent the spread of the new coronavirus.