Our CoNVat project for new coronavirus diagnostics has been granted! The NanoB2A group will lead and coordinate a European research project to provide a point-of-care biosensor for the rapid detection of coronavirus. CoNVat is one of the 17 projects selected by the European Commission to be funded as urgent response to control and manage the COVID-19 outbreak.
Besides NanoB2A, CoNVat will engage top researchers in the fields of virology, clinical diagnostics, and epidemiology from Spain, France, and Italy. The group of Prof. Jordi Serra Cobo from the University of Barcelona provides an extensive experience in the study and epidemiology of coronavirus in reservoir animals and vectors. In France, the laboratory of Prof. Remi Charrel in the Aix-Marseille University is leader in virology and molecular biology, pioneering the development and production of biological material for the validation of new diagnostic systems. Finally, CoNVat also counts on the Italian National Institute of Infectious Diseases (INMI), the reference institute for the analysis and diagnosis of COVID-19. Researchers from Prof. Antonino di Caro's laboratory were among the first to isolate and sequence the human SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus.
With a duration of two years, the project aims to develop an advanced diagnostics system for real-time detection and identification of SARS-CoV-2 and other coronaviruses in both humans and reservoir species. The POC biosensor will be based on our proprietary nanophotonic technology (the BiMW interferometers) that enables ultrasensitive analysis of body fluids in few minutes and label-free fashion. The CoNVat system will be optimized and validated for a rapid population screening and identification of the new coronavirus among other clinically relevant viruses, like influenza. But further, the project will extend beyond the current pandemic and human diagnosis. The CoNVat biosensor will also be used for the analysis of different types of coronaviruses present in reservoir animals, such as bats, in order to observe and monitor possible evolutions of these viruses and prevent future outbreaks in humans.