FAST TRACK COVID-19: Fast genetic tracking of Covid-19 for environmental surveillance
Communications Disseminations 02.02.2022

FAST TRACK COVID-19: Fast genetic tracking of Covid-19 for environmental surveillance


Presentation video: FAST TRACK COVID-19

The SARS-Cov-2 (COVID-19) pandemic and its evolution showed how we are unprepared in timely detection and follow the spreading and transmission of the virus and its variants. Environmental factors have significant influence on the virus transmission, especially in crowded, transit areas, e.g. public places and transportation, educational buildings, healthcare settings, tourist and recreation facilities, etc. 

As most people spend more than 90% of their daily lives inside closed spaces, it is necessary to implement a frequently and precise evaluation of the potential risks and mitigation. We have developed a simple, portable, cost-effective and highly sensitive qPCR-based platform (FAST TRACK TOOLBOX) for in-situ detection of SARS-Cov-2 and variants in environmental samples (air, water, surfaces). Sampling and testing can be readily carried out at the sampling site in complete safety. Due to the robustness and user-friendliness of the procedure, stability and durability of the qPCR kits test can be run even by non-specialists after a dedicated training. The toolbox includes portable but high-level devices (air sampler and PCR) and accessories that can be varied according to specific need. 

The toolbox includes a remote live support service, qualified personnel can assist the operator in all steps for timely detecting and preventing mistakes or error sources.  

Making the PCR accessible and affordable to a much wider percentage of users and implementable in routine control procedures will boost the environmental surveillance. The testing time will be drastically reduced from 24-72 hours to 2-3 hours, thus permitting a more efficient and timely prevention strategy. Further, the load on testing centers (hospitals and lab) will be relieved.  Due to its versatility, the toolbox is not only applicable to Sars-Cov-2, but to any other new or recurring pathogens (viruses, bacteria, fungi), which are under some aspects harder to eradicate than corona viruses.