Skip to main content
Premium Trial:

Request an Annual Quote

STMicroelectronics, Clonit, Italian Institute Develop Prototype POC Ebola MDx

NEW YORK(GenomeWeb) — STMicroelectronics, Clonit, and Italy's National Institute for Infectious Diseases Lazzaro Spallanzani said today that they have developed a prototype of a portable analyzer which runs an RT-qPCR-based Ebola assay.

The analyzer and assay use whole blood and take about 75 minutes to detect the presence of Ebola virus.

The partners said in a statement that the new device features an extractor element that purifies viral RNA from a few microliters of whole blood. The RNA is then reverse transcribed and amplified on a "stamp-sized silicon microchip" pre-loaded with reagents developed by Clonit, an Italian biotechnology firm that recently developed a quantitative PCR kit to detect the Ebolavirus Zaire strain. The Clonit reagents enable on-chip quantitative real-time PCR, potentially providing viral load data to clinicians. The device also features an optical reader which interfaces with a PC.

The chip and optical reader were contributed by STMicroelectronics, an international semiconductor manufacturer with corporate headquarters in Geneva. That company has IP around dielectrophoresis-based sample prep, a microfluidics chip, and on-chip real-time PCR. Its microfluidics technology also forms the basis for Veredus' VereFlu, VereTrop, and VereMERS assays.

The partners confirmed the sensitivity and accuracy of the new test with a blood sample diluted up to a million times, which could allow earlier detection of infection, and they are currently evaluating an integrated, self-contained, automated system that can run parallel analyses on a large number of samples.

A number of Ebola tests in development are attempting to break free from lab-based RT-PCR, including ones from IDT and Ubiquitome, BioFire Defense, Lucigen, and BioInnovation Solutions, with a number of these firms pursuing Emergency Use Authorization from the US Food and Drug Administration. 

The Scan

mRNA-Based Vaccine on the Way in China

China may soon have its own mRNA-based vaccine, according to Nature News.

Arranged Killing, Fraud Alleged by Prosecutors

The Wall Street Journal reports that prosecutors allege that the co-founder of a biotech arranged to have a business associate who threatened to expose him as a fraud killed.

Whirlwind Decade of CRISPR

The New York Times looks back at the 10 years since the University of California, Berkeley's Jennifer Doudna and her colleagues published their CRISPR paper.

PNAS Papers on Blue Cone Monochromacy Structural Variants, HIV-1 Mutant, T-ALL

In PNAS this week: structural variants linked to blue cone monochromacy, HIV-1 variants affecting the matrix protein p17, and more.