Developing Quicker and Simpler Testing Method for COVID19

Lerner Eitan, HUJI, Faculty of Science, The Alexander Silberman Institute for Life Sciences

Dr. Eitan Lerner’s lab has diverted its expertise to developing more efficient testing for COVID19. Diagnosis of COVID19 is currently performed via RNA extraction & RT-PCR, which is labor-intensive, time consuming, and requires use of existing kits. While the viral RNA genome does include specific sequences, it can (and has been reported to) introduce contamination to surfaces, which can lead to false positive identifications.

An alternative mode of identification involves high-sensitivity fluorescent detection of the specific factors in the virus, without amplification. Using this method will save time, labor and (bio)chemical resources to produce highly specific results, even when the targets are at low concentrations.

In order to do this, Dr. Lerner’s lab is using confocal-based fluorescent detection of one viral particle at a time. It is currently developing a bio-identification of intact viral particles based on the coincident detection of it based on its size and on its specific interaction with the Angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2).

Dr. Lerner’s team is currently performing proof-of-concept measurements, and the next step is to prepare the involved proteins/probes components and to test them against model systems embedded with the COVID19 spike proteins. The goal would be to test these modalities against pseudovirions, or other safe(r) modes of the virus particle.

Contact for more information:

Ariela Markel
VP, Business Development, Healthcare
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