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New technique for diagnosing coronavirus developed at the University of Namur

University Namur develops Covid-19 diagnosis test
12:58 18/03/2020

A new method for diagnosing Covid-19 has been developed by the University of Namur (UNamur), reports RTBF. If approved, up to 500 tests a day could be carried out in the Walloon capital.

In collaboration with KULeuven (KUL), the protocol is in the process of being approved by the Federal Agency for Medicines and Health Products (FAMHP), announced the university on Tuesday.

"This protocol is very simple, there is nothing revolutionary about it," said professor Benoît Muylkens, who is leading the research team. "It is based on human labour rather than on complex machines,” he added.

The new diagnostic method relies on human resources, dispensing with the shortage of reagents; a compound or mixture added to a system to cause a chemical reaction or test if a reaction occurs.

"Our researchers have been working around the clock for a fortnight to identify a new diagnostic method," said UNamur’s director of communication François Nélis. "The technique developed is based on chemical tests and requires a larger workforce. If the approval is granted, we should be able to perform nearly 500 tests per day just here in Namur, in support of reference laboratories. Of course, the method could also be extended worldwide."

Professor Muylkens and his team started searching for a new test when they observed different progression rates and learned that there was a shortage of reagents. "The start of the epidemic was similar. But in Korea, after 10 days, there was a resolution of the epidemic while in Italy there was an outbreak. In South Korea, the number of tests carried out was very high, much higher than in Italy,” he said.

Written by The Bulletin