A Montreal-based company has developed a solution which it claims can detect viruses via the use of a smartphone.

Two-Photon Research’s CAST product uses what it calls an Aptamer Molecular Photonic Beacon (AMPB) to test saliva. It does this by “phonetically interfacing” with the handset in question.

The first application of the technology is to detect COVID-19.

A spokesperson explained the process in this way: “During the test, the AMPB binds to the S1 protein of SARS-CoV-2, if it is present in the saliva sample. On binding with the S1 protein, the AMPB responds to the smartphone’s LED flash. The light emitted by the AMPB is then detected by the smartphone’s CMOS sensors. No photons, no virus.

“The smartphone displays the result instantly. It can store the results - along with time and GPS information - and communicate them if required.”

Two-Photon Research CEO, Najeeb Khalid, said: “Instant, accurate and low-cost testing that does not rely on a laboratory is essential in containing the pandemic. Together with vaccines we can control the COVID-19 outbreak and return our lives and economies to normal.”

The company is currently completing in vitro testing, with in vivo testing to follow.

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Author: Philip Mason