An additional 2,000 daily tests with ULiège !06/04/2020

The University of Liège (ULiège) has announced that it has developed an automated test to detect SARS-CoV-2, the virus responsible for Covid-19. The technique developed at ULiège increases the daily coronavirus detection capacity by 2,000 tests.

The benefit of this test is that it can also detect asymptomatic carriers. The test proposed by ULiège is less dependent on the reagents that are in short supply and, as it is automated, it requires fewer personnel.

Its operation involves three stages: inactivation of the virus (while preserving its genetic material), extraction of the virus (this is where innovation has been important), conversion of the RNA into DNA and amplification of the DNA. If the sample emits fluorescence, this means that it is positive.

The second stage was restrictive because, until now, it required either a large number of personnel, or reactants that are now difficult to obtain. Researchers from GIGA, FARAH, GREENMAT/CESAM at ULiège and CHU in Liège have joined forces to make this stage faster, automated and independent of commercial reactants.

This fast, reliable automated technique for detecting those who are carrying the virus, whether they are sick or asymptomatic, now allows the ULiège theme to carry out 2,000 tests a day. The laboratories that developed this method are now relying on the clinical microbiology laboratory of the CHU in Liège for local testing, but will also be involved in the mass screening, starting with systematic screening in care homes that are occupied by a large number of persons at risk.

The development of this technique is a major step in equipping Belgium, and potentially other countries, with the large-scale capacity for carrying out the tests necessary for managing the Covid-19 health crisis.

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