Leuven, Belgium, 17 February 2022
Demonstrating an extremely rapid turnaround time for our COVID-19 PCR Test in a real-life setting
miDiagnostics, a fast-growing POC diagnostics company backed by Belgian Family Offices, announces the success of the Brussels Airport pilot study for its ultra-fast COVID-19 PCR Test. This test is the first of many applications for miDiagnostics’ disruptive technology, licensed from imec (Leuven, Belgium) and developed in close collaboration with Johns Hopkins University. The study confirms that the test can perform rapid and high-quality diagnostics on the spot in a real-life setting, providing travelers with a result within half an hour with the same accuracy as a traditional PCR test.
Brussels Airport Pilot Study Results
The study was organized to compare the already existing PCR test for COVID-19 infections, with a turnaround time of around 3 hours (for the rapid PCR formula) and its own ultra-fast covid test with a turnaround time of less than 15 minutes.
The purpose of the study is not only to compare the results of both tests but mainly to get an idea of the exact turnaround time in a real life environment, i.e. the time that elapses between taking the test and getting a written result. The entire workflow of the ultra-fast user test will also be examined and it will be analysed how the miDiagnostics COVID-19 Test performs at the airport, both during and outside of peak times when the platform will undergo stress testing.
In a first phase – lasting a total of four weeks and starting on October 18 – the nasopharyngeal swabs will be analysed and the results reviewed. In a second phase, miDiagnostics will also use the study to scrutinize the first prototypes of its breath test, developed in collaboration with imec, and record the most important pros and cons.
The study was conducted in close cooperation with Brussels Airport Company, Ecolog (a leading global provider of COVID-19 screening and diagnostics and related infrastructure), and Eurofins Labo Van Poucke (the clinical diagnostics partner performing the standard PCR test as a benchmark). Starting in October 2021, departing or arriving passengers at Brussels Airport requiring a PCR test were given the option of additionally completing the miDiagnostics rapid test, with results of the two then compared. Close to 600 passengers participated in the study over the course of 2 months. The study supported previous clinical studies demonstrating the accuracy of the miDiagnostics COVOID-19 PCR Test results.
The aim of the pilot study was also to assess the turnaround time in a real-life setting, and to optimize the workflow for a future rollout. In the laboratory, conventional PCR tests have a turnaround time of anywhere between 3 hours (for the fast procedure) and 12 to 48 hours, whereas the miDiagnostics’ ultra-fast PCR test requires less than 20 minutes for a result. This ultra-fast, nevertheless very accurate result is possible through miniaturization of the RT-qPCR process, with silicon technology at the heart of this innovation. The workflow from passenger registration and sampling (performed by Ecolog) all the way to reporting a test result was streamlined to provide a result within half an hour from passenger registration.
As part of the pilot study, miDiagnostics also obtained promising initial results for its breath analyzer prototype, a technology licensed from imec and currently in development, which would eliminate the need for nasopharyngeal swabs, making the testing process more comfortable and less invasive.
Katleen Verleysen, CEO miDiagnostics: “We’re pleased that the pilot study yielded such excellent results, demonstrating an extremely rapid turnaround time for our COVID-19 PCR Test in a real-life setting, and an accuracy equivalent to traditional PCR tests. We’re very grateful to our partners, Brussels Airport Company, Ecolog, and Eurofins, who made this pilot study possible. The next step is now a large-scale rollout of the test, which will be launched at the end of April.”
Arnaud Feist, CEO Brussels Airport Company: “Testing has been crucial for the restart of travel and it still remains key today. This pilot clearly showed that the miDiagnostics test works well in the fast-paced, 24/7 environment of the airport, providing us with confidence in the value of this technology. Their innovation in the analysis of PCR tests is exactly what we look for as an airport offering testing services: fast, scalable and reliable.”
Mohammed Zafar, Managing Director EcoCare: “Our role as the leading logistics partner to conduct PCR tests on ground and to deliver the samples to the laboratory was further enhanced through our direct interface with the travelers. People were relieved to receive rapid results and thus certainty about their health and travel situation. miDiagnostics’ solution could pave the way in making traveling even safer and convenient. This partnership is geared to benefit the community as we navigate the current pandemic.”
Tibo Demoor, managing director Eurofins clinical diagnostics BeLux and Dirk Bernard, MD, clinical director Eurofins LVP: “Eurofins is pleased to have been able to support a Flemish innovative analytic project to help combat the COVID-19-pandemic. We were very surprised to discover an ultra-fast COVID-19 PCR test that is capable of reporting semi-quantitative values (CT-values), making the interpretation of the test results much more comparable with routine PCR-tests. We believe that this is a major advantage compared to existing ultra-fast PCR-platforms on the market. We wish to thank all participants for their contributions in this pilot study.”
miDiagnostics is using silicon chip technology which will bring miniaturized, rapid, easy-to-use, lab-quality tests direct to the patient and clinician. Combining a nanofluidic processor on a chip and a compact reader, miDiagnostics can measure virtually any biomarker from a minimally invasive sample such as drops of fingerstick blood or swabs. The Company is developing an extensive portfolio of tests for screening, diagnosis and monitoring of a wide range of health conditions, including infectious diseases.
Spun out of the world-leading R&D and innovation hub in nanoelectronics and digital technologies, imec, and a research collaboration with Johns Hopkins University, the leading US research and medical centre, miDiagnostics’ goal is to enable fast, comprehensive and cost-effective health analysis, regardless of location. Based in Leuven, Belgium, miDiagnostics is a privately held company created in 2015.
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