Padjadjaran University Develops COVID-19 Detector Called CePAD

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Laila Afifa

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  • Blood sampling of COVID-19 rapid testing at Hasan Sadikin Hospital (RSHS) in Bandung, Wednesday, March 25, 2020. Photo: RSHS

    Blood sampling of COVID-19 rapid testing at Hasan Sadikin Hospital (RSHS) in Bandung, Wednesday, March 25, 2020. Photo: RSHS

    TEMPO.CO, Jakarta - Muhammad Yusuf, the Secretary of Molecular Biotechnology and Bioinformatics Research Center from the University of Padjadjaran (Unpad), said Thursday that the three-year development for the avian influenza rapid test kit is used as a basis to develop the COVID-19 antigene test kit dubbed the CePAD.

    “We developed it for avian influenza but ended up being a COVID-19 detection device,” said Yusuf. 

    According to him, the current pandemic has forced the development of the avian influenza rapid test kit to cease in February and the team thought instead to make use of the avian project amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. 

    That was the moment Yusuf pitched the idea to develop rapid test equipment for coronavirus, which eventually received a green light. The CePAD prototype went through months of development and is now in its validation phase by testing it with COVID-19 samples taken from patients. 

    The main difference between CePAD and other coronavirus diagnostics is that this one is claimed to be able to detect SARS-CoV-2, the virus causing COVID-19, using a patient’s swab sample. The initial version of CePAD is able to produce a result in 20 minutes at its longest by showing two red parallel lines. 

    Yusuf said that the biosensor inside the device that is able to detect the SARS-COV-2 are printed on micro cellulose, which receives the patient’s blood sample. 

    The biosensor in the rapid test equipment comes from the antibody-antigen from chickens that are injected with viral antigen protein. “We utilized chicken to produce the IgY antibody from egg yolk. We then inject the viral antigen to the chicken which would then produce a specific antibody that can capture the virus. This is an easier option,” said Yusuf. 

    “Technology-wise, this isn’t wrong and the antibody that is produced can actually capture the viral protein,” he said.

    The Co-founder of PT Pakar Biomedika Indonesia and the head of Unpad’s Center for Infection Studies at the Faculty of Medicine, Bachti Alisjahbana, said that the series of tests on the CePAD device had been promising but still required further tests. 

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    AHMAD FIKRI (CONTRIBUTOR)