With the help of PCR molecular-diagnostics technology, pandemic-related genetic material and other deadly pathogens can be detected
STMicroelectronics and Alifax S.r.l have worked together on a rapid, cost-efficient portable solution for point-of-care molecular diagnostic detection using highly reliable real-time Polymerase Chain Reactions (PCR) to amplify genetic material (RNA and DNA1) in patient samples, leading to faster test results (within an hour).
The Molecular Mouse is a small portable instrument that contains STM32 MCUs, sensors, amplifiers and other devices. Connected to a PC, the Molecular Mouse uses certain medical reagents for controlling and testing multiple targets or samples on a tiny disposable cartridge (manufactured by ST using its high-volume Micro-Electro-Mechanical Systems (MEMS) semiconductor process technology).
Each cartridge features 6 tiny reaction chambers (for the COVID-19 test, Alifax is using 2 chambers per sample). Each chamber supports precise heating and cooling of the reagents and samples to amplify the target genetic material if it is present.
At the same time, the Molecular Mouse determines the presence of the target genetic material in each chamber based on fluorescence intensity on multiple wavelengths.
“One crucial lesson from the current global pandemic is the importance of rapid, cost-efficient point-of-care testing that allows immediate remote diagnosis and then, if necessary, patient isolation,” said Alessandro Cremonesi, Chief Innovation Officer, STMicroelectronics. “ST has been investing in its Real-Time PCR platform convinced that innovative semiconductor-based diagnostic solutions can positively impact our lives.“
“ We have developed a rapidly customizable, highly flexible cartridge and instrumentation platform that delivers rapid and precise point-of-care diagnostic results, used for responding to almost immediately to present pandemic and future diagnostic needs,” added Benedetto Vigna, President Analog MEMS, and Sensors Group, STMicroelectronics.
“By building on our passion for research and excellence in innovation, we have established strength in haematology and bacteriology for diagnostic purposes. By working closely with ST and combining its foundational microfluidic and other technology in the Molecular Mouse and our pathogen-specific assays, starting from a COVID-19 test, we’re ready to contribute to rapidly diagnosing, isolating and ultimately stopping the spread of pathogens,” said Paolo Galiano, President, Alifax.
Certified to CE-IVD3, the Molecular Mouse, disposable test cartridges and assays are available now from Alifax.