While the world focuses on COVID-19, other infectious diseases with similar symptoms continue to circulate. In fact, around 5 % of people with COVID-19 and 18 % of non-COVID patients have other infections. Rapidly identifying and diagnosing not only COVID-19, but other infections such as colds and the flu, will ensure that COVID-19 patients can be quickly isolated, limiting the spread of the disease. Furthermore, rapid diagnosis of infections besides COVID-19 will ensure that all patients receive the right treatments, and reduce the unnecessary use of antibiotics.
The aim of RAPID-COVID is to develop a diagnostic kit capable of simultaneously detecting SARS-CoV-2 (the virus that causes COVID-19) plus 30 other common respiratory bacteria and viruses. The consortium already has a prototype technology called MPA (Multiplex Probe Amplification), and the goal of the project is to validate this and get a CE mark for both point of care (PoC) and high throughput laboratory testing.
A number of elements set the RAPID-COVID system apart from other tests. Firstly, the tests are run on one tube, instead of multiple tubes. Secondly, it is automated, meaning users can quickly process a large number of patient samples. Finally, its compact size means it does not take up a lot of space in the lab.
The project partners aim to commercialise the test for EUR 9 per test. Ultimately, they hope it will allow for accurate, cost-effective and comprehensive diagnoses during the current outbreak as well as future routine diagnosis