As more Covid-19 cases emerge in the U.S. and worldwide, the need for quick, easy-to-use diagnostic tests is becoming ever more urgent. A startup firm originated from MIT is now working on a paper-based test that may provide results in half an hour, based on technology created at MIT’s Institute for Medical Engineering and Science (IMES).
Cambridge-based E25Bio, which created the test, is now preparing to submit it to the FDA for “emergency use authorization,” which would grant temporary permission for utilizing the device on patient samples throughout public health emergencies.
Elsewhere around MIT, a number of other research groups are working on projects that may help scientists’ understanding of how COVID-19 is transmitted and how an infection can be prevented. Their work covers fields ranging from diagnostics and vaccine development to more traditional illness prevention steps such as social distancing and handwashing.
The expertise behind the new E25Bio diagnostic was coined by Lee Gehrke, the Hermann L.F. von Helmholtz Prof. at IMES, and other members of his lab, along with Irene Bosch, a former IMES research scientist who’s also the CTO of E25Bio.
For the last several years, Gehrke, Bosch, and others in the lab have been working on diagnostic units that function like a pregnancy test; however, it can identify proteins from patient samples.
The researchers have utilized this technology, known as lateral circulate technology, to develop tests for dengue fever, Ebola, and Zika virus, among other infectious illnesses.