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Christelle Prinz receives ERC grant to develop a One-step assay for direct virus detection


Pipette with multiple samples in cleanbench

Christelle Prinz’ project developing a test that quickly detects viruses in the body receives an ERC proof of concept – innovation money from the European Research Council. Picture: Kennet Ruona

The ERC Proof of Concept funding is made available only to those who already have an ERC award to establish proof of concept of an idea that was generated in the course of their ERC-funded projects. In the 1-SWITCH-project, Christelle Prinz will build on findings from her earlier ERC Consolidator Grant Nano-Poker and apply a one-step switchable fluorescent probe assay which could enable efficient and rapid detection of the virus causing the Covid-19 infection. Her team will use low-cost reagents technology to develop more affordable tests than those currently available on the market. Their goal is to develop rapid, one-step tests with efficiency superior to the antigen tests and comparable to PCR tests.

By detecting the virus directly, the test will identify only active infections. Its high accuracy would cut-down false-positive and false-negative results, while easy usage aims to eliminate the assay complexity. It could facilitate smoother workflows in the laboratory and point-of-care diagnostics. The project team also foresees that this technology could be extendable to the detection of other viruses. Its affordability should make it widely used and accessible to developing countries.

ERC Proof of Concept project: One-step switchable fluorescent probe assay for direct virus detection (1-SWITCH)
ERC Funding: € 150.000

Highlights of the 3rd round recipients of 2020 - Proof of Concept call funding