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Argentines against coronavirus

Argentine scientists created a method that allows detecting coronavirus in just 60 minutes, through a portable kit.
| 15 February, 2020 |

The word epidemic sounds like a horror movie. Sounds like infection, illness, death. It sounds like it’s getting close and it can reach anyone. That’s how we’ve been feeling since the coronavirus has put the world on its toes: it has already killed more than 1000 people and affected 43,000. The key thing, in order to prevent the epidemic from progressing, is a rapid diagnosis. Four Argentines created a method to make that possible.

Scientists from the CONICET Carla Giménez, Federico Pereyra Bonnet and Lucía Curti, together with economist Franco Goytía, founded the project Caspr Biotech. Through molecular diagnostictechnology, they created this method to detect, within 60 minutes, whether a person is infected with coronavirus. In addition, this is done from a portable kit, so it is not necessary to move to a health center. This solves one of the major problems for the containment of the epidemic: its spread during the window period, when it is asymptomatic.

Franco Goytía is currently in New York looking for investors for the Caspr Biotech project, which was already patented in the United States. The goal is to get $3 million so that the product can become massive. Despite growing interest in the method in health agencies in different countries around the world, the Chinese Government has not yet contacted them.

An epidemic that is difficult to control

The severity of the epidemic stems from the fact that the coronavirus can be transmitted from person to person by air, through a sneeze or other types of contact. The method of detection that is currently used, called PCR, is costly and time-consuming between three and four days to yield the results. This favors the spread of the virus, since during that time there may be contagion.

The value of the kit that Caspr Biotech project can produce is very affordable, about two dollars. In addition, it would provide the possibility of being used in homes or airports, which, in addition to the short time it takes to deliver the result, would greatly decrease the likelihood of contagion in the window period.

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