An Extremely Sensitive Protein And Virus Detection Platform

Screen candidate drugs and developing an extremely selective virus detector.

An Extremely Sensitive Protein And Virus Detection Platform
Image: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

The company Lead Pharma in collaboration with LioniX and Surfix and the University of Twente have recently devised a biological detection platform called BioMEANDER. The platform BioMEANDER is up to a hundred times more sensitive than existing techniques.

The accessibility of to a great degree delicate, quick and particular discovery techniques takes into consideration the improvement of screening tests for early diagnostics thus called ‘customized drug’, in which patients are offered singular, specially crafted medications.

Besides developing new technologies, BioMEANDER also focuses on identifying commercial opportunities for the detection platform being developed.

Henk Leeuwis, head of Strategy said, “The platform is based on optical sensor chips, which work with light rather than electricity. If a virus, for instance, becomes attached to a chip, this alters the amount of light the chip emits. By optimizing the sensor design we have made our platform ten to a hundred times as sensitive as other optical sensors.”

Usually, specific receptors require fitted on the computer chip for the desired molecule or virus detection. The whole sensor is covered with receptors. But here, scientists worked out a way to place the receptors only on the sensitive part of the sensor.

Jan Klomp, senior scientist at Lead Pharma said, “Besides these general improvements to the detection platform, we are discovering two concrete applications.”

“We particularly are looking for how this platform could help to screen new candidate medicines. We want to know whether an agent binds to certain proteins, and for us, it’s important to know whether large amounts of this agent are required or whether small amounts also bind effectively.”

“To find this out we need a very sensitive measuring method. So we have high hopes of this detection platform, and we think that – in combination with the right binding experiments – it could raise the efficiency of the drug candidate screening and selection process.”

Scientists are now taking an effort to use the platform for virus detection.

Professor Jurriaan Huskens said, “Together with my colleague Jeroen Cornelissen I’m researching how viruses bind to surfaces. Because viruses can attach themselves to a surface with more than one anchor point at the same time, they are extremely sensitive to the number of receptors present on that surface.”

“Use can be made of this fact by building an extremely selective virus detector. With such a detector you can quickly determine which type of virus is infecting someone, or you can use it to test antiviral drugs.”