DOST funding new instrument system to ease bottleneck in Covid-19 testing

The Department of Science and Technology (DOST) said it is currently supporting a team of scientists who are developing a new instrument system that can read diagnostic kits used to for Covid-19 testing.

The Philippine Council for Health Research and Development (PCHRD), an attached unit of the DOST, said it is currently supporting the “Accelerated development of a cost-efficient microPCR (miPCR) and lateral flow diagnostic (LFD) system to enable expanded near-point-of-care testing for Covid-19” or the AMPLiFieD System.

The project is being developed by a multi-disciplinary team of biologists, clinicians, and engineers led by Dr. Jeremie de Guzman, Dr. Keith Moore, and Ricardo Jose S. Guerrero from the Ateneo Research Institute for Science and Engineering (ARISE).

The AMPLiFieD system will combine the outputs of two newly-initiated DOST-PCHRD supported projects — the miPCR Project, a microfluidic PCR device for portable DNA/RNA amplification, and the ADDS Project, an amplified DNA detection system based on low-cost lateral flow diagnostic (LFD) strips to selectively detect the viral nucleic acids that are the output of the miPCR device.

“Once the team has fabricated the proof-of-concept devices, further validation and verification of these devices will be conducted to ensure reliability and robustness. If successful, AMPLiFieD could provide a functional alternative to commercial qPCR instruments at a significantly lower cost and a much smaller size,” the DOST said.

“The availability of this alternative system can also potentially lead to creating more cost-effective, more distributed testing laboratories and provide the much-needed testing infrastructure for more responsive testing and tracing of suspected Covid-19 cases,” it added.

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