Researchers from Western and Suncor have teamed up to use algae as a way to produce serological test kits for COVID-19 — a new way that is cheaper and more efficient. This is reported by the university itself.
Researchers use algae as a manufacturing factory to produce the necessary proteins to identify anti-COVID-19 antibodies in someone who has previously been infected with this disease.
“We use microalgae, which show promising results not only for the production of the necessary protein but also for its production with the right modifications, to mimic how this is done in humans. “We use our own knowledge and technology to quickly produce proteins and confirm their effectiveness as a test reagent”.
One of the constraints in the development of large-scale serological testing is the ability to produce significant quantities of viral proteins on a cost-effective basis.
Current tests are based on proteins made in reagents, such as insect or mammalian cells, which are expensive and difficult to scale. Algae are cheap to grow and can easily be converted to produce viral proteins.
Financing allowed the team to significantly speed up the production process, and test kits are expected in the market in a couple of months.