Medica presents: COMPASS for Highly Sensitive Rapid Tests

In collaboration with Erlangen University Hospital, researchers from Julius Maximilian University in W├╝rzburg created a novel tool called COMPASS, which offers far quicker and more accurate testing for determining viral load. The process is quick and equally sensitive as the intricate ELISA tests, requiring very little metrological work.

Presently available rapid diagnostics for infectious illness diagnosis are quick, but not very quick. For instance, it might take anywhere from 15 minutes to several hours to receive a valid response from antigen self-tests, PCR testing, or ELISA tests for coronavirus. On the other hand, a recently discovered measurement technique combined with specifically engineered magnetic nanoparticles allows for a significantly faster and more sensitive test. These days, magnetic nanoparticles, or MNPs for short, are applied in many different fields. These are iron oxide spheres, little larger than a few hundred nanometers. Their utility may be modified in addition to their magnetic capabilities by carefully designing their surfaces. For example, this can be used to attach certain antigens or antibodies to the beads. If this kind of binding happens, the particles only slightly increase."The new measurement method opens up many possible applications where speed and reliability are required," according to Professor Behr. These include, for instance, the identification of new viral illnesses or the examination of cattle for infections that need to be reported. He claims that a speedy adaption to recently discovered infections is truly possible: "The Erlangen group has the potential to generate the magnetic nanoparticles on a bigger scale. The test sera may be generated so long as the matching ligands are accessible," says Professor Behr. However, a sizable industrial partner would be required for a global and extensive production. (AK)