PCB007 Magazine

PCB007-Apr2020

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62 PCB007 MAGAZINE I APRIL 2020 Feature by Pete Starkey and Happy Holden I-CONNECT007 Introduction "The Coronavirus: A Global Pandemic" has become the universal headline. As of mid- March, the World Health Organization charac- terized the coronavirus as a pandemic, which had already spread to almost 150 countries, areas, and territories, with hundreds of thou- sands of confirmed cases. Coronaviruses (CoVs) are a large family of viruses that cause illness ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases such as the Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS- CoV) and severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS-CoV). COVID-19 is a new strain that was discovered in 2019 and had not been pre- viously identified in humans. In an outbreak of a new virus, it is impera- tive that epidemiologic and clinical investiga- tions are carried out as early as possible, and the recent emergence of COVID-19 precipitated a crucially urgent need to understand trans- mission patterns, severity, clinical features, Advances in Medical Diagnostics Using LoC and LoPCB Technologies and risk factors for infection. Effective testing can both confirm the presence of the disease in an individual and indicate the location, extent, and development of the outbreak. Several techniques for detection and diagno- sis of COVID-19 are currently under develop- ment, some of which may detect the novel vi- rus exclusively; others may also detect strains that are genetically similar. A detection kit re- cently announced uses technology based on a portable lab-on-chip (LoC) platform capa- ble of detecting, identifying, and differentiat- ing MERS-CoV, SARS-CoV, and COVID-2019 in a single test, which integrates two molecular biological applications: polymerase chain re- action (PCR) and DNA microarray screening. Whereas traditional PCR coronavirus detec- tion kits can take a day to produce results, the latest LoC detection kits can produce results in about two hours, and LoC technology may be the key to powerful new diagnostic instru- ments and point-of-care testing devices. An LoC is a device that integrates one or several laboratory functions on a single inte- grated circuit. LoC devices are microelectrome-

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