Successful pandemic management relies on rapid and sensitive on-site testing. In particular, the ease of adapting tests to new variants provides more information about pandemic events. The "Mediator Displacement LAMP" developed by Hahn-Schickard in close cooperation with the Department of Microsystems Engineering at the University of Freiburg (IMTEK) opens up the potential to provide handy rapid tests in laboratory quality that are easier to adapt.
The molecular biological detection method can be used in medical diagnostics to identify infectious agents such as bacteria and viruses. It is now being used for the first time by Mast Diagnostica GmbH in a commercially available IVD test kit (MAST ISOPLEX ® SARS-CoV-2) for the qualitative detection of SARS-CoV-2 in human respiratory specimen material.
As with PCR, the Mediator Displacement LAMP is based on the amplification of nucleic acids. In contrast, a reaction occurs at a constant temperature (isothermal). The isothermal nature of the detection reaction allows the use of simple and inexpensive analytical equipment. Thus, the test can be performed in standard laboratory equipment such as real-time PCR cyclers but also in simple heating blocks or handy portable on-site systems. The new technology is sensitive yet very robust, allowing easy sample preparation. In addition, several pathogens or genes can be specifically detected simultaneously in one sample. An advantage over other isothermal methods is that adaptation to different pathogens or variants can be performed easily and quickly. This is achieved by combining universal signal molecules and pathogen-specific components.