A Quebec research team is analyzing the effectiveness of a COVID-19 screening method that could analyze “up to 30,000” tests in barely a day.
Made up of experts from the University of Sherbrooke (UDES) and the University of Montreal (UDEM), the group is currently analyzing the effectiveness of Luxon ion source technology», Imagined in Quebec by the company Phitronix.
Luxon, of its trade name, allows in normal times to quickly detect small molecules in an organism. But the task promises to be heavy for technology. The coronavirus is made up of molecules too large for its detection capacity, explains Professor Pedro Segura, co-investigator in this study.
This is where the research team comes in. Mr. Segura and his colleague Francis Beaudry, from the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine at UdeM, first want to select the spicule, a protein unique to SARS-CoV- 2, and “cut it into small pieces”.
“It’s going to be what we call peptides, little sets of amino acids. We want to analyze [ces peptides] with Luxon, a very rapid detection technique, ”says Mr. Segura.
High screening potential
If Quebec researchers succeed in isolating these peptides, they are confident that they can develop a new screening method for COVID-19. In theory, it would allow “to analyze some 30,000 samples of peptides from patients in 25 hours.”
According to Mr. Segura, this high speed would be facilitated by the “automation of processing” provided by Phitronix devices.
The health network is currently analyzing several thousand COVID-19 tests per day. The screening capacity has also recently improved. On Tuesday, health authorities took more than 17,000 samples, a record since the start of the pandemic.
On several occasions in the past few days, the health network has exceeded the target of 14,000 initially set by health authorities. In May, in the midst of the first wave, Public Health had only managed to reach this total three times.