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Startup develops yeast-based COVID-19 diagnostic test

Publicado em 29 janeiro 2021

Incubated on the University of Campinas (UNICAMP) within the state of São Paulo, Brazil, and supported by São Paulo Research Foundation- FAPESP’s Innovative Research in Small Business Program (PIPE), BIOinFOOD is a startup that’s growing a speedy COVID-19 diagnostic test primarily based on a patent utility filed by college students at UNICAMP’s Genomics and Bioenergy Laboratory.

The test relies on a biosensor consisting of a genetically modified brewer’s yeast (Saccharomyces cerevisiae), which modifications colour if human ACE2 receptor expressed by the yeast’s membrane binds to the spike glycoprotein current on the exterior floor of the virus.

“The yeast is normally beige. When this interaction takes place, the presence of the virus is signaled by a fluorescent green that can easily be detected by the equipment typically found in clinical analysis labs,” says Gleidson Silva Teixeira, considered one of BIOinFOOD’s companions.

Teixeira studied beneath Professor Gonçalo Amarante Guimarães Pereira, who leads one of many laboratories at UNICAMP’s Institute of Biology, the place the thought got here up. According to the researchers’ expectations, the brand new test might be each quick and cheaper than RT-PCR due to the low price of yeast, the principle enter.

Another essential distinction is that it’s going to in all probability use saliva. Being non-invasive is a bonus for diagnostic assessments. Many folks expertise intense discomfort when present process assortment of their materials by nasal swab.

The sensitivity of the test is anticipated to be excessive, which means it is going to be in a position to detect the virus only some days after an infection. “We plan eventually to have the yeast emit red light, which will be easier to identify,” Teixeira says. “In this case, anyone will be perfectly capable of using the test, even at home.”

Once the working speculation formulated in UNICAMP’s laboratories has been totally validated, the startup’s scientists anticipate the test to be dropped at market and freely accessible for buy throughout first-half 2021.

“The project is also supported by FINEP [the Brazilian government’s innovation agency] and must be developed rapidly because we can’t miss an opportunity to help combat the pandemic,” Teixeira says.

The concept of growing a product designed to fight COVID-19 arose from a name issued by FAPESP when the pandemic arrived in Brazil (in March 2020), inviting researchers within the state of São Paulo to submit proposals for inventive options on this route. “The secret, in this case, is genetic modification of the yeast,” Teixeira says. “We’re confident the hypothesis will work and the biosensor we’re constructing will emit a totally reliable signal.”

The uncooked supplies for the product are easy and distribution of the diagnostic test ought to be logistically simple.

Bread and beer

The innovation concerned within the COVID-19 diagnostic test got here out of a know-how mastered beforehand by BIOinFOOD, in accordance with considered one of its house owners. The startup affords a biotech platform primarily based on S. cerevisiae, a flexible microorganism broadly utilized in business as a biofactory. Organic acids, amino acids, enzymes, and therapeutic proteins are a few of the outputs of the platform.

“In the specific case of the technology used to develop the COVID-19 test, we want to see the platform being adapted to other types of disease in future,” Teixeira says.

The agency additionally develops customized yeasts to be used by bakeries and breweries to go well with client tastes. “We have several yeast-based solutions. Yeasts are well-known microorganisms. They can also be used in animal feed,” Teixeira says.


Startup develops yeast-based COVID-19 diagnostic test (2021, January 29)

retrieved 29 January 2021


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