Scientists in Canada are using algae to develop low cost serological test kits for Coronavirus that they say would determine if someone has been infected with novel COVID19 .
The new procedure overcomes demerits of the existing process while saving money , according to the scientists from the University of Western Ontario in Canada .
The Research team collaborated with Canadian integrated energy company Suncor to develop algae as production factory to produce necessary proteins to identify novel COVID19 antibodies in anyone previously infected with Coronavirus .
We are utilising a micro algae which shows a lot of hope for not only producing the protein needed but also producing with the right modification to mimic how it is made in humans , Said Daniel Giguere from the university of western Ontario .
We are leveraging in home technology and expertise to rapidly produce the proteins and validate their efficacy as a testing reagent , said Sam Slattery from the University .
The Scientists noted that one of the restricting factors in evolving large scale serological testing is the ability to make significant quantities of the viral proteins in a low cost basis .
Current COVID19 tests rely on Proteins made in reagents such as mammalian or insect cells that are expensive and difficult to scale , researchers said .
According to the scientists , algae are low-priced to grow and can easily be engineered to produce the viral proteins .
At western the synthetic biology group has been developing genetic tools for algae which are providing their utility , clarified Dave Edgell, co-principal investigator .
The funding has enabled the research team to significantly speed upthe production process , with COVID19 test kits expected on the market in a couple of months , remark Martin Flatley , Suncor senior staff engineer .