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Source: Covid-19 Diagnostics  Mar 24, 2020  6 months ago
Covid-19 Diagnostics: Simon Fraser University,Canada Develops New Covid-19 Testing Kits Using State Of Art Imaging Technology
Covid-19 Diagnostics: Simon Fraser University,Canada Develops New Covid-19 Testing Kits Using State Of Art Imaging Technology
Source: Covid-19 Diagnostics  Mar 24, 2020  6 months ago
Covid-19 Diagnostics: Researchers from Simon Fraser University have utilized their pioneering imaging technology called Mango, for its bright fluorescent colors, to develop an easy and fast to use coronavirus testing kits.


 
They are among a small set of Canadian researchers who responded to the rapid funding opportunity recently announced by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) to help address COVID-19.

Dr Lena Dolgosheina, a post-doctoral fellow and Dr Peter Unrau, a Professor of molecular biology and biochemistry, had developed Mango to sensitively detect RNA molecules, helping to improve viral screening for viruses such as the coronavirus while enabling basic discoveries into the functioning of cells.

Dr Unrau further developed the platform to so that Mango could be used to detect individual molecules of RNA within a living cell.

Dr Unrau told Thailand Medical News, “We are typically made of molecules so when something goes wrong within a cell it happens at the molecular level. We are using the Mango system as a catalyst, to allow us to not only extend fundamental research questions but also to detect pathogens like the SARS-Cov-2 coronavirus, faster and more efficiently.”

The newly developed Mango system consists of an RNA Mango aptamer that binds tightly and specifically to a fluorescent dye. The aptamer acts like a magnet targeting and binding those dye molecules. The dye becomes excitable when bound and glows brightly. RNA molecules modified to contain the aptamer “magnet” now stand out from the other parts of the cell, which makes it much easier for researchers to see and study RNA molecules under a microscope.

Dr Unrau added, “Cell regulation takes place at the level of RNA. For a long time, the focus has been on protein but it is RNA and not protein that regulates the vast majority of processes within a cell.”

The newly developed RNA Mango dyes are currently available from Applied Biological Materials (ABM) in Richmond, B.C. The coronavirus research made possible by CIHR funding will allow the team to develop an isothermal testing methodology, known as Mango NABSA (nucleic acid sequence-based amplification).

The highly innovative and easy to use Mango NABSA kits can be used to test for the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus, which is a positive strand RNA virus. ABM is actively involved with this project as a partner and will supply the enzymes and buffers needed, which the SFU team originally developed.

Dr Unrau concluded, “Mango technology is state of the art platform that can be utilized for  variety of diseases that demand better imaging methodologies to rapidly learn how cells work in detail.”

Reference: Cawte et al. (2020) Live cell imaging of single RNA molecules with fluorogenic Mango II arrays. Nature Communications. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1038/s41467-020-14932-7

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