Manufacturing News

New RMIT Sars-Cov-2 test promises result in under a minute, with planned commercial release early-2022

Manufacturing News

RMIT has announced that a rapid Covid-19 test based on R&D at Micro Nano Research Facility will be manufactured in Australia with planned commercial release early next year.

The Soterius Scout sensor promises a result when screening for Sars-Cov-2 spike protein fragments in under a minute. The sensor itself is worn as a fob card, “or attached as a fixture within a workspace,” can detect the virus on a person’s breath, and presents a result by a linked smartphone or reader “that users swipe as they enter or exit areas.”

The device is being developed by startup Soterius with partners RMIT, MIP Diagnostics, the Burnet Institute, D+I and Vestech.

“Importantly, one sensor can detect up to 8 viral strains and our technology can be easily adapted to detect new variants or novel viruses as they emerge,” said Soterius co-founder Dr Alasdair Wood

“We hope the Soterius Scout biosensor could be a vital tool for managing COVID-19, providing accurate early detection to prevent outbreaks and avoid the need for future lockdowns.”  

According to the release, prototypes tests conducted at RMIT, in partnership with Burnet Institute, show detection of protein fragments “with impressive accuracy and no false positives.”

The devices will be made in Australia, with the first deliveries made to hospitals, and planned rollouts to high-traffic areas including airports, quarantine centres, schools and elsewhere.

The news follows a $3 million federal grant awarded to Avicena yesterday to develop their Covid test. Other Australian rapid tests being commercialised include Alcolizer’s Virulizer, based on nanophotonics research out of UTS, and Zip Diagnostics’ test, under development with Victorian Infectious Diseases Reference Laboratory (VIDRL) and Burnet.

The current “gold standard” for testing, PCR methods, are all imported and can take a day or more for a result.

Picture: The biosensor, fixed to an office wall (Soterius)

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