BUSINESS

Iris: A pocket Covid-detection lab

DESPINA KONTI

TAGS: Coronavirus, Business

Greek startup Biopix-T is on the brink of marketing the Iris appliance, which can detect Covid-19 in just half an hour.

The company created by researchers at the Foundation for Research and Technology-Hellas (FORTH) on Crete is hoping to start selling the portable appliance at the start of 2021.

Iris is a device that was created with the use of 3D printing and which conducts DNA tests. It can detect the RNA of the coronavirus in just 30 minutes, Dr George Papadakis, one of the inventors of Iris and co-founder of Biopix-T, tells Kathimerini.

“Detection can occur from biological samples such as saliva, which allows the completion of tests in areas outside laboratories, such as hotels, airports, and even at home,” adds Papadakis.

The major advantage of this pocket Covid-detection lab is its particularly small size and cost: “Iris weighs just 370 grams and costs less than 1,000 euros. We do not need any expensive materials for its construction, as is the case with the appliances used for PCR molecular analysis; those appliances weigh more than 5 kilos and cost more than €10,000, while the analysis of each test takes more than an hour-and-a-half,” Papadakis points out.

The molecular detection of SARS-CoV-2 through Iris offers equally reliable results as the typical coronavirus test: “This has been confirmed by the Pasteur Institute in Athens, where patients’ samples have been successfully retested. Out of the 38 samples that the institute examined with its own technology, Iris detected 37 – i.e. a success rate over 97%. We also analyzed the 51 negative samples with 100% accuracy,” the Greek doctor stresses.

The company has already been approached by several countries around the world, from Africa, Europe, Asia and America, asking for the device to be sent over, while in Greece it has so far only been approached by private clinics. It has also secured funding from the European Commission, being among the 23 proposals selected from a pool of 450 when Brussels asked for innovative solutions to contain the pandemic.

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