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You are here Baltimore: A Baltimore lab developed technology for a molecular rapid COVID-19 test

Monday, February 8, 2021

New York-based company RNA Disease Diagnostics is looking to develop a high-performing test that doesn't have to be sent to the lab, thanks to tech developed by University of Maryland researchers.

A new company is developing molecular technology for a rapid COVID-19 test that is designed to be just as effective in detecting the disease as the currently available variety of tests that are sent to a lab for processing.

New York’s RNA Disease Diagnostics recently got a boost in development efforts with a licensing deal for the underlying sensor technology with UM Ventures, the commercialization arm of the University of Maryland. It shows how tech transfer is playing a role in responding to the pandemic.

Cofounder Allen Chepuri sees the COVID-19 testing landscape as requiring a choice: There’s the rapid test, which makes results available in less than an hour, but isn’t as sensitive, especially as the virus mutates. Or there’s the PCR test — the kind administered by medical pros at public testing sites. It’s considered the “gold standard” for COVID-19 testing, but it must be sent to a lab for processing, so results take more than a day. The company sees its tests in between these two, with the ability to detect COVID-19 in less than 45 minutes.

“We expect a product to be coming out in the market that’s highly sensitive and specific comparable to a PCR, but at the same time it’s quick,” said Chepuri. “And you don’t have to have the expense that’s associated with a lab.”

Read the full story from Baltimore.