During the winter of 2019, an unfathomable disease emerged to threaten the capabilities of the entire world’s healthcare system.
A novel zoonotic coronavirus strain SARS-CoV2 was identified in patients from China, presenting a rare and devastating Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome. In a few weeks, this new virus strain was isolated and identified as responsible for COVID19. The new virus propagated rapidly across borders, jeopardizing the response capabilities of even the most advanced governments and economic regions of the world to contain and fight the emergent disease, leaving healthcare professionals defenseless and facing enormous challenges to identify, isolate and treat the contagion. Due to its high infectivity, COVID19 has already claimed the lives of more than 1 million people and has infected almost 40 million worldwide (October 2020).
One of the most critical challenges is the brevity and availability of the biological reagents required to test the infection by COVID19 in equally clinically symptomatic and asymptomatic individuals. Clinical tests provide crucial information to isolate and control local outbreaks and prevent from scaling up. However, the cost of the enzymes and reagents represent a prohibitive expenditure for many hospitals of governments in developing nations or pose serious distribution obstacles for remote and inaccessible areas.
In March 2020, a global team of volunteers integrated by independent molecular biology scientists; mechanical and electronic engineers; students; DIYBio enthusiasts; entrepreneurs; A.I. experts; and industrial designers joined forces and resources to build a low cost, portable, modular, and minimal maintenance automated Bioreactor. Bioreactors prices are usually several orders of magnitude higher and require additional costs for maintenance, specialized operational skills, and energy bills.
In April 2020, our team was the recipient of a grant from the JOGL organization under the "Open Covid19 Initiative" to support our research and complete a functional prototype and low-cost protein expression system based on an optogenetic induction switch.
Usually, medical devices require expensive materials and laborious micromachining. To overcome these challenges, our team used a different approach:
By implementing additive construction techniques, state of the art electronics, and free distribution molecular parts, we have achieved the early prototypes to provide tools to fight the disease with a seamless integrated and affordable proprietary technology.
Our Bioreactor capabilities are equipped to synthesize the most precious molecular reagents for SARS CoV2 detection and could help for the development of potential treatments in the field; its operational requirements demand minimal equipment and little technical expertise.
Its estimated cost: 200 Euros.
We are delighted to announce that the first results of our early prototype. We have presented to the global community at the Biosummit 4.0 organized by the MIT Media Lab (October 10th, 2020).
We are grateful for all the contributions of the volunteers, members of our team that have excelled it surpassing all expectations. We are still working to deliver a final version that could contribute to fight the current pandemic.
Our most sounded gratitude to our founding partners, the JOLG Open Covid Initiative, as well as all the individuals and member labs of the SynBiosys Global Hub alliance.
Visit the Bioreactor project website (go to menu: Wave Bioreactor) or visit the Ottawa BioScience link:
You wake up in the morning you turn on the machine, this time is a doppio, or perhaps a mCherry latte?...
Mmmmh, but today feels more like glutathione refolded His6X tagged.
Wait! this is not coffee!...
Want to know more about how does the future of recombinant protein purification would look?
Just "turn on the future"...