Aussie biotechThe iQ Group Global and Harvard University create real-time printable COVID-19 diagnostic test

AUSTRALIAN biotechnology enterprise The iQ Group Global has announced a collaboration with America's Harvard University to develop a printable point-of-care SARS-CoV-2 antibody test for the COVID-19 disease that could produce results in real-time.

Life Science Biosensor Diagnostics Pty Ltd (LSBD), a portfolio company of The iQ Group Global, entered into a development collaboration agreement with the Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering at Harvard University this week to develop the test from the Australian-invented Biosensor Platform.

The Biosensor Platform is a printable organic thin-film transistor ‘strip’ being developed by LSBD to put the power of accurate and timely diagnosis in the hands of patients and their primary health practitioners at point of care. 

The high-profile collaboration involves a pilot study to integrate the Biosensor Platform with a special coating developed at the Wyss Institute that can detect IgM and/or IgG antibodies, which indicate a person’s current or previous exposure to the SARS-CoV-2 virus and a potential infection with COVID-19.

The future of point of care diagnostics, the Biosensor Platform is being developed by LSBD to test for more than 130 indications, including tumour markers, allergens, hormones and communicable diseases.

The flagship diagnostic device being developed from the Biosensor Platform is the Saliva Glucose Biosensor, the first non-invasive replacement for finger-prick blood glucose testing for diabetes management.

Based on the data generated in this pilot study, further development in partnership with the Wyss Institute could result in a chewing-gum-sized diagnostic ‘strip’ that can be used for COVID-19 testing at point of care, with the ability to be printed at scale at a low cost, and produce real-time results.

“At The iQ Group Global, our mission is to create the medicines of tomorrow. Never before has our mission been more relevant, nor more urgent,” The iQ Group Global CEO and chairman, George Syrmalis said.

“We are thrilled to enter this landmark collaboration for Australian biotechnology with the world-renowned Wyss Institute at Harvard University. Dependent on the outcomes of this research, we may be in a position to provide the global healthcare system with a point-of-care test capable of detecting SARS-CoV-2 antibodies, with the ability to provide results in minutes.

"If the pilot study data is positive, this test has the potential to be used as a point-of-care screening and diagnostic tool, and pre-vaccination screening tests for when a COVID-19 vaccine is made available,” Dr Syrmalis said.

“We know that accurate, real-time diagnostic tools are a future of global healthcare that we urgently need to accelerate into our current reality as COVID-19 takes its toll on people all over the world. This project could not have come at more crucial time,” he said.

The Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering is a cross-disciplinary research institute at Harvard University which focuses on developing new bioinspired materials and devices for applications in healthcare, manufacturing, robotics, energy, and sustainable architecture.

The iQ Group Global is a group of companies that find, fund and develop bioscience discoveries to create life-changing medical innovations, Dr Syrmalis said. Recognised by the Australian Financial Review in the top five Most Innovative Healthcare Companies in 2019, The iQ Group Global’s flagship innovation is the Saliva Glucose Biosensor, the first non-invasive replacement for finger-prick blood glucose testing for diabetes management.


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