IFAE develops an easy-to-use one-step technology to detect purified coronavirus RNA

By May 26, 2020May 28th, 2020IFAE

Thorsten Lux, Group Leader at the Institute for High Energy Physics (IFAE, a BIST centre) is the Principal Investigator for the PHIL-ATTRACT project which is working on developing a fast, easy-to-use, and cheap prototype of a technology that could detect purified coronavirus RNA with sensitivity of 90-100%. The Leitat Technological Center partners in the project, managing its medical aspects.

The ATTRACT project PHIL has developed a technology to detect single nucleotide mutations of cell-free DNA from lung cancer patients with one quick step. The combination of low detection thresholds and timing information enables the detection using significantly lower amounts of free DNA without DNA amplification (and only using free or purified DNA).

The one-step detection system could detect purified coronavirus RNA with sensitivity of 90-100%

This detection system could detect purified coronavirus RNA with sensitivity of 90-100% and specifically 100% without the time-consuming reverse transcription and amplification steps needed by the diagnostic tool (RT-PCR) currently used for the coronavirus,” says Thorsten Lux, Principal Investigator for ATTRACT’s PHIL project. The research team is currently working on a prototype that will be fast, easy and cheaper to use.


ATTRACT is a pioneering initiative bringing together Europe’s fundamental research and industrial communities to lead the next generation of detection and imaging technologies. Funded by the European Union’s Horizon 2020 programme, the ATTRACT project involves the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN), the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL), the European Southern Observatory (ESO), the European Synchrotron Radiation Facility (ESRF), the European XFEL, Institut Laue-Langevin (ILL), the European Industrial Research Management Association (EIRMA), Aalto University and Esade.


Reference page: ATTRACT projects page

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