NEW YORK – 3M and researchers from Massachusetts Institute of Technology announced Tuesday they are developing a rapid antigen diagnostic test for SARS-CoV-2.
The US National Institute of Health chose the test for accelerated development and commercialization support under its Rapid Acceleration of Diagnostics Tech program for "aggressively-paced COVID-19 diagnostics," 3M and the researchers said in a statement. The project received $500,00 from the program and is eligible for further investment as development continues.
The viral antigen test would provide test results within minutes using a paper-based device at the point of care, the researchers said. Once it's validated, they said they believe it can be scaled to produce millions of units per day. The RADx Tech program, which was launched by the NIH in April with $1.5 billion in stimulus funding, supports a four-week period of research to demonstrate the concept works and that it can be commercialized.
“There is a pressing need for a highly scalable rapid test,” said Hadley Sikes, leader of the MIT research team. "Joining forces with 3M and the NIH has greatly enhanced our collective efforts toward swift detection of the virus, and a potential tool to help mitigate and contain this public health crisis.”
Sikes' team at MIT specializes in the creation and development of molecular technologies to boost performance of rapid cellulose-based protein tests, the partners said. 3M's team for the project is being led by scientists, manufacturers, and regulatory experts from the company's corporate research laboratories and healthcare business group.