New Advances in Sample Acquisition for Respiratory Infection Diagnosis and Monitoring

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Promising results are being seen in the performance of new sample preparation modules being developed for respiratory infection, Wave 80 announced today.

The significant challenges associated with extracting viral genomic material from nasopharyngeal swabs and sputum, two critical samples for respiratory infection, are likely to emerge as particularly critical in managing COVID19 illness caused by infection with the coronavirus SARS-CoV-2.

With the reported occurrence of asymptomatic transmission from asymptomatic individuals, likely associated with SARS-CoV-2’s high binding affinity to ACE2 receptors, detection of very low levels of virus is an emerging priority in both individual patient care and in the public health response to the epidemic.

Wave 80’s INFRA sample acquisition and preparation technology can significantly improve yield of viral genomic material from complex samples including nasopharyngeal swabs and sputum. The results announced today, intended to be soon submitted for publication, entail modifying sample preparation modules originally designed by a joint Wave 80-Johns Hopkins team for collection and processing of vaginal swabs for chlamydia and gonorrhea testing.

In the new prototype sample prep modules, a nasopharyngeal swab is inserted into a disposable INFRA cartridge held in an iphone-sized INFRA base unit. Processing is fully automated and is completed in approximately 15 minutes. The INFRA cartridge is then removed and the cartridge transported to a central laboratory for testing of the processed sample with high confidence around the recovery of viral genomic material, even in samples with low starting viral titers.

Adaptation of INFRA sputum sample preparation technology originally developed for use in tuberculosis is also underway. Early reports indicate that testing of both sputum and nasopharyngeal swab samples may be essential for monitoring disease progression in COVID19 illness.

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