The FDA has authorized the first single-use, PCR-quality, over the counter COVID-19 test kit, made by alumni startup Lucira!
Professor Liana Lareau has been co-leading the Innovative Genomics Institute effort to monitor mutations in the SARS-CoV-2 virus in the local community. The team’s rapid sequencing turnaround is crucial for tracking the spread of new variants, including the more infectious B.1.1.7 recently detected in two cases at Berkeley.
Fletcher Lab, in collaboration with the Gladstone Institutes and Doudna Lab, have developed a new CRISPR-based COVID-19 diagnostic test that, with the help of a smartphone camera, can provide a positive or negative result in 15 to 30 minutes. This test also gives an estimate of viral load, or the number of virus particles in a sample, which can help doctors monitor the progression of a COVID-19 infection and estimate how contagious a patient might be.
On Tuesday the first rapid, at-home COVID-19 test was authorized by the Food and Drug Administration. The test, made by BioE-founded company Lucira, uses their loop mediated amplification reaction process, a molecular nucleic acid amplification technology, in a battery-powered standalone unit. Rather than detecting antibodies, their test is designed to detect whether an individual is shedding the coronavirus that causes COVID-19. The company was developing this technology for an at-home influenza test before rapidly pivoting to address COVID-19. Lucira is led by Debkishore Mitra (PhD 2013), who founded the company with John Waldeisen (PhD 2012).
Four bioengineering undergraduates spent the summer working online to increase PPE compliance in universities as part of the first ever Biomedical Engineering Virtual Summer Internship hosted through the Cleveland Clinic and Case Western Reserve University. Check out each student’s idea pitch in the videos below:
Gauss Surgical – a company launched by MTM alumnus Siddarth Satish – has partnered with Cellex to develop the first-ever rapid, at-home COVID-19 antigen test and mobile app.
Prof Liana Lareau and collaborator Stacia Wyman have received one of ten Excellence in Research Awards from the Laboratory for Genomics Research (LGR), a collaboration between UC Berkeley/UCSF (IGI) and GlaxoSmithKline. Their project will explore rapid, low-cost, high-throughput viral and metagenome sequencing of COVID-19 patient samples for outbreak surveillance.
The Molecular Sciences Software Institute (MolSSI) has launched an open-source website that will allow biomolecular scientists from around the world to share computer-aided drug-testing simulations targeting the protein at the center of COVID-19. Under the leadership of MolSSI co-director Teresa Head-Gordon, a MolSSI team started work on the COVID-19 website in April, after scores of scientists began discussing ways to share simulation modeling data they had on the coronavirus.
Professors Patrick Hsu and Niren Murthy are featured with the emergency funding they have received for urgent COVID-19 research. Hsu is working to apply new CRISPR tools he has discovered to a faster and better diagnosis of COVID-19 infection and potentially new therapeutics, while Murthy is looking for weaknesses in the SARS-CoV-2 proteins that could be leveraged by a small molecule, hopefully knocking out the virus.