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Wyss Institute Licenses Multiplex Biosensing Platform to iQ Group Global for COVID-19 Test

NEW YORK ─ Harvard's Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering announced Monday that it has licensed a low-cost, affinity-based electrochemical sensing platform, called eRapid, to Sydney-based iQ Group Global for COVID-19 diagnostic testing applications.

iQ Group Global, a consortium of Australian companies, will integrate the biomarker detection technology with its transistor technology to enable specific and sensitive SARS-CoV-2 testing, Wyss Institute said.

Financial and other terms of the agreement were not disclosed.

eRapid technology enables multiplexed detection of a broad range of biomarkers, including proteins, antibodies, RNA, and small molecules in small quantities of complex biological fluids, such as blood or saliva, the Wyss Institute said, adding that simultaneously analyzing the presence of multiple different biomarkers related to a patient's state of infection can enhance diagnostic sensitivity and specificity.

Boston-based Wyss Institute said it used eRapid technology to build a SARS-CoV-2 detection system to meet the long-term challenge of providing point-of-care diagnostic tests for use in physician's offices, pharmacies, or at home. The diagnostic tests might be used to identify whether a patient is actively infected or has been infected or vaccinated in the past and developed an active immune response, it added.

eRapid technology uses an antifouling nanocomposite coating to which SARS-CoV-2-specific antibodies are attached that capture viral proteins, RNA, or antibodies against the virus. Upon chemically detecting any of the virus-specific molecules, the eRapid platform generates an electrical signal, whose strength correlates with the levels of target molecules present in the sample.  

iQ Group Global will integrate eRapid technology with its biosensor platform, which includes organic thin film transistors that will enhance eRapid's electrical signals and enable them to be read by a smart device to provide diagnostic results in real time, the Wyss Institute said.

George Syrmalis, CEO of iQ Group Global, said in a statement that it intends to market the SARS-CoV-2 test as a potential companion diagnostic for vaccination programs.