2019 Novel Coronavirus Outbreak:

Picodya accelerates R&D efforts to enable mass serological testing for COVID-19

“I want mass blood tests on a large scale. This way we can isolate the virus carriers.”
– Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, March 21, 2020

Widespread viral outbreaks, such as the current international COVID-19 pandemic, feature quick spread followed by socioeconomic crisis. The most effective countermeasure remains the timely isolation of the population in infected areas, coupled with the rapid identification of patients.

Currently, however, we are witnessing a severe bottleneck developing at central labs performing molecular diagnostics. This bottleneck stems from several key issues, including a lack of test kits and equipment, staff shortages due to illness and quarantine, and logistical difficulties related to sample collection and transport. As a result, COVID-19 testing is extremely limited and it is not presently possible to monitor entire communities.

Picodya’s B-Matrix™ system is able to perform large-scale, low-cost serological testing in a significantly shorter time span than the current RT-PCR test. Serological testing is recognized as a crucial tool for disease epidemiology, and is the only test that will enable us to elucidate COVID-19’s true incidence and prevalence, pinpointing both hotspots and “safe havens.”

B-Matrix™ presents several significant advantages in monitoring the COVID-19 pandemic versus both molecular diagnostics and conventional serological technologies:

  • Real-time monitoring in the community, for rapid differentiation between infected and healthy residents.
  • Serological panel can be expanded to include other diseases or new viral serotypes as needed.
  • Single sample required for a full panel of tests, even if the panel is expanded.
  • No need for complex logistics to transport samples.
  • Reduced load on central labs, enabling them to focus on identifying infected individuals.

At present, Picodya has four working lab prototypes as well as the first deployable B-Matrix™ system, all of which can perform serological immunoassays on 5-50 people per hour.

Over the next 6 months, Picodya intends to build an additional 5-10 prototypes for deployment while simultaneously developing a serological panel of assays tailored to COVID-19, in cooperation with the Israel Institute of Biological Research. When complete, Picodya will deploy these machines into the field for further testing.