BARRINGTON, N.J., April 9, 2020 — Edmund Optics and MiCo BioMed Co. Ltd. have collaborated on a highly sensitive molecular diagnostic device, the VERI-Q PCR 316, that is capable of detecting COVID-19 within an hour.
The device uses 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.
PCR screening systems typically use fluorescence where targeted double-stranded DNA molecules are tagged with fluorescent dyes that emit light when exposed to a shorter wavelength input, following a similar schematic to fluorescence microscopes. An excitation filter allows wavelengths from the illumination source to pass through. The wavelengths reflect off a dichroic filter and are focused onto the sample by lenses. The fluorescent emission from the sample transmits through a dichroic filter toward lenses that focus the light onto the system’s detectors. Measuring the amount of fluorescence allows the system to determine the presence of molecules that would indicate if a sample is positive for COVID-19.
Other diagnostic tests can exceed 24 hours to produce results, which makes them impractical for testing at airports and borders. By using real-time PCR screening to analyze patients, health care decisions can be made quicker. The device is being used in countries including Poland, Hungary, Romania, Ecuador, Bangladesh, Senegal, and Brazil. MiCo BioMed is currently seeking FDA approval for use in the United States.