ETH Zurich Foundation, diaxxo


Dr Michele Gregorini & Philippe Bechtold

Rapid detection of pathogens

By means of the polymerase chain reaction (PCR), a specific DNA sequence in a sample can be amplified and detected. This molecular technology is used to track down pathogens in body fluids, food or drinking water. Philippe Bechtold and Michele Gregorini have now developed an inexpensive PCR device that performs DNA analyses in only ten minutes. They have completely redesigned the reaction vessel and made it considerably smaller; fewer reagents are required, and the procedure is considerably speeded up.

The compact, easy-to-handle PCR devices are particularly suitable for outpatient facilities such as doctors’ surgeries, and in areas where medical facilities and laboratories are thin on the ground. While their PCR instrument can be used to detect a number of different pathogens, the team is currently focusing on the detection of SARS-CoV-2 and its most common mutations, and on sexually transmitted diseases.

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