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Rapid COVID-19 Diagnostic by Enhanced Recombinase Polymerase Amplification

Researchers from Mike Springer’s lab at Harvard Medical School are developing an improved diagnostic testing platform for disease detection including COVID-19 (novel coronavirus). Using proprietary technology, the researchers are simplifying the recombinase polymerase amplification (RPA) process and improving the accuracy and speed of the reaction while allowing the reaction to be performed at room temperature in any environment, including in-house testing. The team is looking for industry and VC partners to help accelerate the commercialization of the technology.

The diagnostic platform for COVID-19 testing requires no specialized or expensive equipment, requires ~30 minutes to go from sample collection to a result detectable by the naked eye, can be performed at the point of care, and currently is estimated to cost less than $5 per test. The assay’s low cost and speed will enable rapid and frequent testing that can be administered to at-risk personnel, quarantined patients, and persons suspected of exposure. With minimal change the assay can also be extended to determine viral load instead of just presence versus absence.

The ability to perform daily tests is aimed at reducing the COVID-19 spread and in turn extended quarantine periods. This Harvard technology hopes to meet the rapidly expanding testing needs and the ability to screen a wider swath of the population will also allow for identification of patients that have no or mild symptoms but are still able to spread the virus and need to be quarantined.

Intellectual Property Status: Patent(s) Pending