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SQI and McMaster University Seek to Measure Severity of COVID-19

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Both have created a surface that repels every other element of human blood except critical cytokine biomarkers like Interleukin-6 enabling timely and clear detection of critical "cytokine storm" progress of COVID-19 in individual patients.

The march to better understand COVID-19 through the use of diagnostics continues.

Precision medicine specialist, SQI Technologies has partnered with McMaster University to create a new technology that can detect an elusive protein biomarker from human blood to measure the severity of COVID-19.

Both have created a surface that repels every other element of human blood except critical cytokine biomarkers like Interleukin-6 (IL-6), enabling timely and clear detection of critical "cytokine storm" progress of COVID-19 in individual patients. The same bio-sensing technology can also be used to measure disease severity in patients with influenza or other acute respiratory distress conditions, as well as other infectious and non-infectious diseases, including some cancers.

Dr. Tohid Didar, Professor of Mechanical Engineering at McMaster said, "There are so many possibilities for these smart surfaces. We can create them to repel everything, or we can design them to interact in many beneficial ways. In this application, we have designed it to detect only the one bio-marker IL-6, and this allows us to separate it from everything else in a very complex environment, enabling clear quantitative detection of its presence."

SQI and McMaster University’s technology is a new layer to the next chapter of the COVID-19 testing saga. Companies are now moving beyond simple detection and adding more sophistication to the diagnostics.

An example of this is Becton Dickinson and Company winning CE mark for a test that can assess the immune function in COVID-19 patients. The Franklin Lakes, NJ-based company said the BD Multitest 6-Color TBNK Reagent with BD Trucount goes beyond the complete blood count and looks at the T-cell subtypes in COVID-19 patients.

And most recently, LabCorp said it’s offering a test to provide a quantitative measurement of an individual’s SARA-CoV-2 IgG antibodies. The test was developed for use in the COVID-19 vaccine clinical trials.

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