Purdue seeks FDA approval on COVID-19 home test

(Supplied/Purdue University)

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. (Inside INdiana Business): A test designed to diagnose respiratory diseases in cattle has led to the development of an affordable home test for COVID-19 for people. Bovine respiratory disease tests can be expensive and require a medical professional to administer.

Purdue University’s Mohit Verma, assistant professor in the Department of Agricultural and Biological Engineering, developed a more affordable test for bovine respiratory disease.

Seeing similar challenges stemming from the coronavirus pandemic, Verma used the same concept but developed biosensors that detect the nucleic acid-specific to COVID-19.

“We are hopeful that this test will help address some of the barriers related to access — such as cost, availability, and convenience — that have prevented or delayed the diagnosis of COVID-19,” said Verma.

The test is administered by collecting saliva and applying it to a handheld paper-based biosensor. When placed in a portable heating device, this biosensor produces a color change within 45 minutes to indicate the diagnosis.

Purdue says the test has performed well in a lab setting, and the university plans to submit the test for fast-track FDA approval this summer.

“An accessible and truly affordable COVID-19 test would be game-changing in the United States,” said Theresa Mayer, Purdue’s executive vice president for research and partnerships.

Purdue says it has forged a partnership with Raytheon BBN Technologies, PortaScience Inc., Cortex Design Inc., and LaDuca LLC to produce and manufacture the tests.

“This partnership will enable the test to be manufactured and distributed at scale to reduce costs and increase access,” said Mayer.

The hope is that the test will be available to consumers within a matter of months.

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