UP Los Baños Graduate Leads COVID-19 Test Development In Switzerland
UP LOS BAÑOS GRADUATE – A UP Los Baños graduate is now leading the development of a testing technology for COVID-19 in Switzerland.
The said graduate is Catharine Aquino-Fournier, according to ABS-CBN. She graduated a degree in Biology in 1996 and earned her master’s degree in Genetics in 2003.
She now heads the HiDRA-seq application of the University of Zurich and the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology.
HiDRA-seq is a method similar with the real time reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction or rRT-PCR.
The difference is that HiDRA-seq skips the extraction of genetic material, hence, decreasing processing time, this was explained by Aquino-Fournier herself.
“In the technology we developed, we are trying to skip the part of extracting the genetic material and get it straight from saliva, or gargles, or directly from the swab,”
“The difference is that [while] in rRT-PCR, the output is a fluorescent intensity, in our test, the output is COVID-specific sequences. Since we have the sequences, we can determine the strain of the virus depending on the mutations that we find.”
Like rRT-PCR, the method is also not 100 percent accurate, and has a 10 percent chance that it might show a false results.
Aquino-Fornier clarified that the method was not meant to replace PCR tests. The said method would also allow the processing of up to 100,000 samples per run for about $2 per sample (P100).
“Since there is a shortage of materials used for rRT–PCR, we tried to come up with a technique to not affect their supply,”
Based on the report, the nation can run over 50,000 tests for COVID-19 as of late June.
There are currently 47,873 positive cases, among them were 1,309 fatalities and 12,386 recoveries.
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