South Korean startup Optolane has recently submitted a digital, real time PCR kit to the Korea Centers for Disease Control& Prevention to help diagnose COVID-19, also known as the coronavirus.
Optolane CEO Lee Do-young said the firm is also planning to go overseas with the solution as soon as possible.
Currently, COVID-19 is being diagnosed via real time PCR tests with saliva samples. However, the method has faced steady criticism that the tests aren’t accurate enough, mostly due to the small size of the specimen.
To help solve ths problem, Optolane applied semiconductor chip technology to produce a digital PCR testing kit consisting of an analysis device and a cartridge -- manufactured via MEMS. The company has placed a tiny chip inside the cartridge that is embedded with 22,000 of 50nm-sized wells where the regeant and specimen is placed. The kit then analyzes what is inside the wells to produce a diagnosis.
It takes under an hour for the results, and the price of the kit would be around one-tenth of other PCR kits, Lee said.
He also stressed that it is the world’s first such kind of chip-embedded technology, and that it is capable of detecting viruses with the smallest amount of specimen.
Optolane is currently supplying HIV digital PCR kits to the US Centers for Disease Control. The company CEO was the founder of fabless image sensor manufacturer Siliconfile, which has been acquired by SK hynix.
The Elec is South Korea’s No.1 tech news platform.