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A new COVID-19 diagnostic system has been developed at UNAM, performing with 99% accuracy in 10 seconds.

Within the infrastructure of Bilkent UNAM, the joint work of Dr. Bülend Ortaç and his team, Bilkent Holding and E-A Technology operating in Bilkent Cyberpark Technology Development Zone, has developed an “in vitro” virus diagnosis system that can be used to detect the new type of coronavirus (Kovid-19 / SARS Cov2).

The cooperative research project, formed following the first reported Covid-19 case in Turkey and the studies of the 7 months duration gave fruitful results.

The new nanotechnology-based diagnostic system can detect the COVID-19 virus within 10 seconds with a swab taken from the mouth. It is an optically based diagnostic and identification system that changes the color of the glow in the presence of the virus, thus detecting viruses with high selectivity. In this system, pathogens are detected within 10 seconds by dynamically receiving a fluorescent signal via a pathogen detection chip developed specifically for a biosensor device. After the sample taken from the patient, it is mixed with a special solution, dropped on the pathogen detection chip, and if there is a pathogen in the environment by the biosensor device, the presence of pathogens with high accuracy is detected by taking the fluorescent signal. Taking saliva samples from the mouth instead of taking swab samples from deep areas such as the oropharynx and nasopharynx will also make the use of the system preferable. Unlike the commonly used PCR tests, the system is not based on sample replication, but on detecting the presence or absence of the virus with advanced optical methods. In the system, optical and electronic modules that provide both precise virus detection and high selectivity in detection, as well as high-level biotechnology and material science knowledge are used. The system has shown 99% success in virus detection in pre-clinical studies conducted so far. We believe that the system will be widely used in our country and in the world as a fast and reliable virus detection method. Therefore, the necessary infrastructure investments for mass production of this biosensor system have already started. The mass production phase is planned to start within an estimated 2 months, right after completing the necessary permissions from Ethics Committee Turkey Pharmaceuticals and Medical Devices Agency (TİTCK) within the shortest time. Accordingly, it will be possible to contribute to the control of the pandemic and to significantly relieve social life.

The system, is called Diagnovir, is an invention with a completely new technological infrastructure. In order to protect the intellectual rights of this innovation, the patent applications of the system have been made recently. The technology that enables the development of this successful product has been developed by Turkish researchers, who have expertise in different subjects and who have carried out a very successful teamwork around a common goal, mostly within Bilkent University and UNAM and Bilkent Cyberpark, and also within the infrastructure of Bilkent UNAM. The system has a high export potential. All marking, certification and accreditation steps that will pave the way for domestic and international sales have also started. We believe that this invention will make a tremendous impact in our country and in the world in the upcoming period.

The purpose of this system, which was developed by Turkish researchers within Bilkent University UNAM and its infrastructure, is to detect not only COVID-19 viruses, but also to be used for various pathogen detection with future studies.