The Portuguese Foundation for Science and Technology (FCT) launched the call “Research 4 COVID19” for 3-month projects and awarded two that were submitted by INL at the beginning of April to deliver improved diagnostics for COVID-19.
Alejandro Garrido from the Food Quality and Safety research group will develop a novel diagnostic tool for the disease based on the detection of viral nucleic acids by using RT-LAMP, with a result reading performed by naked-eye observation. This method will reduce the time of the analysis as well as the investment cost to run the tests.
Lei Wu from the Medical Devices research group will proceed with the development of an ultrasensitive SERS-microfluidic chip which enables rapid analysis of SARS-CoV-2 virus-specific nucleic acid using a portable Raman spectrometer. This novel diagnostic tool will improve the efficacy of detection aiming to simplify the results for point-of-care diagnosis.
Both projects have a total budget close to 30.000€ each, having IPO (Portuguese Institute of Oncology) as the clinical partner. The research at INL labs will start on June 1st.