The new diagnostic platform uses nanotechnology and machine learning to rapidly identify infectious diseases


June 12, 2023

(Nanowerk News) Infectious diseases and respiratory infections in particular are the leading cause of death globally. Thus, there is an urgent need for a rapid, large-scale diagnostic tool that can detect this disease early, something that currently does not exist. To solve this problem, McGill University Professor of Bioengineering Sara Mahshid’s lab has developed an all-in-one detection platform (QolorEX) that can provide test results in just 13 minutes.

For use in locations where people congregate, such as hospitals, schools and airports, the test is performed by taking a saliva sample (no swab required) and transferring it to a microfluidic device which then uses machine learning to automatically take microscopic images of the person. Sample. The images are sent to a phone app which translates the data into test results.

“Since we are likely to see more pandemics in the future, our lab aims to build a low-cost, portable technology with practical clinical results for use in resource-constrained, home, or communal environments,” said Mahshid and his students. , PhD candidates Tamer Abdel Fatah and Mahsa Jalali, co-authors of a paper recently published in Natural Nanotechnology (“Nanoplasmonic amplification in microfluidics enables accelerated colorimetric quantification of nucleic acid biomarkers from pathogens”).

“This platform has been shown to have an accuracy rate of 95%, equivalent to quantitative PCR in terms of COVID testing using saliva samples and has the potential to be a valuable tool for monitoring emerging viral infections, and their variants, and even bacteria. Thanks to its accessibility, the number of tests performed can be increased, potentially leading to early diagnosis that can save lives and curb the spread of respiratory diseases globally,” added Mahshid, who is also Canada’s Research Chair in Nano-Biosensing Devices.


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