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20 April, 2020 - 13:25 By Kate Sweeney

Thumbs up for coronavirus fingerprint test

Cambridge UK diagnostics firm Intelligent Fingerprinting – developer of the world’s only portable fingerprint-based drug screening system – believes that the highly sensitive fluorescence measurement capabilities of its lateral flow technology and portable instrumentation could have a valuable role to play in accelerating coronavirus diagnostic testing at the point of care.

Currently, Coronavirus diagnostic tests – which tell whether people actually have the Covid-19 virus – can take hours if they have to wait for results at a hospital, or days if the swab test sample needs to be sent off to a laboratory for testing. 

By utilising the lateral flow assay technology within Intelligent Fingerprinting’s fingerprint testing cartridge and the fluorescence measurement techniques within its portable reader, there is the potential to create a portable Coronavirus diagnostic testing approach that could deliver positive or negative Covid-19 results on-site within just 10 minutes.

The company’s executive chairman Philip Hand said: “The national goal is to make coronavirus testing available for as many people as possible and Intelligent Fingerprinting is keen to work with its testing industry counterparts to help achieve this target. 

“We think fluorescence measurement has a valuable role to play but we’re going to need some help when it comes to accelerating development and enabling volume manufacturing. 

“Now is the time for the testing sector to come together to support the international effort to help reduce the impact of the Covid-19 virus.”

Commenting on the ongoing development of a fingerprint-based Covid-19 diagnostic test, Lord Darzi, Director of the Institute of Global Health Innovation at Imperial College London, said: “Meeting UK Covid-19 testing goals is a critical part of our collective effort in controlling the virus and fingerprint-based testing could, if developed, have an important role to play in accelerating the testing process. 

“I’m supporting Intelligent Fingerprinting’s efforts to accelerate the development of this test and am particularly keen to see other potential partners get involved as quickly as possible.”

The company’s DSR-Plus analysis unit is based on the intrinsically very sensitive technique of fluorescence. This means that by using its DSR-Plus reader and lateral flow-based screening diagnostics, Intelligent Fingerprinting can detect specific drugs or their metabolites in the eccrine sweat collected from fingerprints. 

Intelligent Fingerprinting’s technology detects picogram amounts of chemicals, as opposed to routine screening technologies that detect nanogram amounts – enabling a thousand-fold improvement in sensitivity.

Combining the DSR-Plus reader with a dedicated Coronavirus testing cartridge could provide the basis for a robust, extremely sensitive and rapid Covid-19 test that is suitable for deployment at a range of locations. 

An added benefit of the Intelligent Fingerprinting solution is that it is hygienic. By using the sweat from a fingerprint rather than nasal or oral fluid samples, there is no hazardous biological waste associated with each test.
Potential partners keen to get involved can email Philip Hand at philip.hand [at] intelligentfingerprinting.com

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