Cortex has partnered with a group of organizations including Raytheon BBN Technologies, Purdue University, LaDuca LLC and PortaScience on a new COVID-19 point of care test kit.
Since the beginning of the COVID-19 crisis, we’ve been looking for opportunities to bring our skills to bear and get involved. Now, Cortex is proud to announce we’re working with a group of world class organizations to help develop a user-friendly saliva-based COVID-19 test kit for point of care use.
An associate professor of Agricultural and Biological Engineering at Purdue, Mohit Verma, had been researching new methods to diagnose Bovine Respiratory Disease (BRD), which affects beef cattle. Verma developed particular assays that use biosensors to isolate certain nucleic acids specific to BRD — a method which made the test cheaper and quicker than previous solutions, and doesn’t require a medical professional to administer them.
Now, Verma has adapted the concept to use the same biosensor technology to detect COVID-19 nucleic acids in human patients instead. Users apply a saliva sample to a paper-based biosensor, before placing it in a portable heating device that produces a colour change within 45 minutes to indicate a positive result. It’s still early days, but the test is performing well in lab trials, raising the promise of a home test that will drastically increase the accessibility of COVID-19 screening.
Cortex Design is responsible for the user interaction, industrial design and engineering for the team as the test proceeds through development and to the marketplace.
We’re thrilled to join an all-star lineup of collaborators for this project, including Raytheon BBN Technologies, who is marshalling a new data analysis tool towards the test’s screening methodology, PortaScience, who will assist with manufacturing and commercialization, LaDuca LLC, who will provide regulatory support, and Purdue University.
“In North America, the prevailing COVID-19 tests involve what is known as a nasopharyngeal swab, inserted deep into the nasal cavity, in order to collect a test specimen,” says Dylan Horvath, President of Cortex Design. “This collection method can be painful, often involves excessively long lineups to get done, and can not be self-administered. Our goal with this new test is to create an economical point of care device that can be used quickly, reliably, and continuously with a simple saliva specimen. This type of testing can completely change the game on knowing when and where the virus is present so it can be tracked and mitigated.”
The collaborative group will seek Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval on an emergency basis for the test — aiming to bring this quick, accessible, and cost-effective diagnostic tool to the fight against COVID-19 in the coming months.
Now we get to work.