SPEKTRAX develops groundbreaking virus test

SPEKTRAX develops groundbreaking virus test
A reliable result within a few minutes. Available all over the world. Coronavirus, but also influenza and Zika, are causing an explosion in the need for rapid and affordable tests. This need is being met with laser technology, nanotechnology and software. At the Biotech Campus Delft, SPEKTRAX is working on a test that will help the world deal with virus crises. “The whole team is eager to be fully operational as soon as possible,” says co-founder Eva Rennen.

Making a safe and reliable diagnostic solution available at short notice. With this aim in mind, SPEKTRAX started the search for innovative testing techniques a year ago. When the world was faced with coronavirus at the start of 2020, the need for a breakthrough in that search became even greater. A modern lab with access to relevant knowledge became essential for the growing company. “Delft was interesting because of the TU Delft and the knowledge of bio- and nanotechnology. Biotech Campus Delft is the perfect sparring partner when it comes to R&D and scaling up.”  Therefore SPEKTRAX is now working at the Biotech Campus Delft, together with medical partners such as the National Institute for Public Health and the Environment (RIVM), Amsterdam Medical Center, the Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sport (VWS), and the Amsterdam Public Health Service (GGD). “The results from patient samples are encouraging. We are in the final phase of validation,” says Eva Rennen. 

Technique and implementation

As with a regular test, the SPEKTRAX test involves taking a swab from the throat or nose. The swab is then diluted, placed on a chip and inserted into a handheld scanner. That’s where the gains are made: a reliable diagnosis within a minute! The new rapid test uses ‘Raman spectroscopy’, a technique that extracts information about chemical compounds from discolorations in laser light. “Our software actually detects the digital fingerprint of the virus in patients saliva,” explains Rennen. 

Virus test of the future

Recently, Prince Constantijn expressed his admiration for SPEKTRAX and Minister de Jonge has also showed interest. Still, the lab keeps its feet on the ground and it’s sleeves rolled up. “It’s the sad personal stories we hear that make us work even harder.” So far, this hard work has brought great success. The accuracy of the test is currently being optimized and the validation and certification are also in full swing. “We will carry on working 24/7 to make large-scale testing possible. This is a must both now and in the future, because the combination of rapid testing, prevention and vaccines will continue to be necessary,” predicts a motivated Rennen.

Photo: Eva Rennen co-founder en COO