The COVID-19, which is caused by the novel coronavirus, pandemic has brought about a global health crisis. Now more than ever, quick, reliable, and accurate testing is critical for reducing the impact of this infectious disease. South Korean healthcare diagnostics company, MiCo BioMed, has developed a rapid, highly-sensitive molecular diagnostic device called the VERI-Q PCR 316 that can detect COVID-19 within one hour.
This portable device utilizes optical filters, beamsplitters, lenses, and mirrors in a real-time reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (rRT-PCR) test, in which a small sample of DNA is amplified and studied in detail. Producing test results in less than one hour makes the VERI-Q PCR 316 a powerful tool for fighting the spread of COVID-19. The VERI-Q PCR 316 is currently being used across the globe in countries including Poland, Hungary, Romania, Ecuador, Bangladesh, Senegal and Brazil.
Genetic material from nasal swabs is added to a unique test solution. Sample DNA is exponentially replicated during the rRT-PCR test to allow for accurate analysis.
Other diagnostic tests for COVID-19 may exceed 24 hours to produce results, making them impractical for testing at airports and borders. The VERI-Q PCR 316 utilizes real time PCR screening to analyze patients within one hour, meaning travellers may wait at the sample collection point for their test results. If the test comes back negative, the patient can be released; if the test is positive, they can be isolated and treated.
Many PCR screening systems rely on fluorescence, where targeted double-stranded DNA molecules are tagged with fluorescent dyes that emit light when exposed to a shorter wavelength input.2 These devices follow a similar schematic to fluorescence microscopes (Figure 1).
An excitation filter allows wavelengths from the illumination source that would excite the fluorescent sample to pass. These excitation wavelengths reflect off a dichroic filter and are focused onto the sample by lenses. Fluorescent emission from the sample transmits through the dichroic filter towards lenses that focus the light onto the system’s detectors. Measuring the amount of fluorescence lets the PCR screening system determine the presence of molecules that would indicate if a sample is COVID-19 positive.
Edmund Optics is proud to supply optical components for life-saving applications like MiCo BioMed’s VERI-Q PCR 316. This device, along with countless other optics-enabled technologies, are helping create a safer and healthier future.