Detecting past infections of COVID‐19, Influenza or SARS simultaneously

Swiss start-up Adamant Innotech and CSEM are developing a rapid serological test to determine if a person has been previously infected with the SARS‐CoV‐2 virus and other types of viruses.

Prototype of the bioanalytical fluidic system.
The new system allows the simultaneous processing of six biochips for the analysis of six patient samples.

Adamant Innotech, a Neuchâtel-based start-up specialized in miniaturized optical technologies, is working with CSEM on a new test that detects, among others, the antibodies binding to the protein of SARS‐CoV‐2 in a blood sample. While similar solutions are currently being deployed in hospitals, this new method allows up to 20 different types of antibodies to be detected simultaneously on a single chip. Establishing who has developed antibodies is important for determining who has less risk to develop a second infection. “We offer a high‐performance and competitive Swiss solution”, said Xiaoming Tang, Managing Director of Adamant Innotech, in a press release.

The new optical detection‐based biosensor consists of a plastic microarray chip on which the virus‐specific proteins are immobilized. When introducing a patient's blood sample, the antibodies generated in response to the viral infection attach to the chip. It is then possible to detect the presence of these specific antibodies using a fluorescence reader. To collect the blood sample, a simple fingertip prick test is required. The results are available in one to two hours.

The device will be tested with patient samples by Adamant Innotech's partner laboratories in China. If the tests are conclusive, the company will focus on validation and regulatory clearance. Future production of the biosensors is envisaged to take place in both Switzerland and China.