CSIC researchers seek rapid coronavirus detector for food processing surfaces

Un proyecto europeo desarrolla un dispositivo para superficies alimentarias que detecta el coronavirus en una hora
  • This is a molecular analysis device that gives results in one hour and will be placed in the food processing facilities

  • The project will be developed by five European institutions and companies and has a budget of 792,000 euros

Researchers from the Spanish National Research Council (CSIC) are participating in a European project to design a method for the rapid molecular detection of SARS-CoV-2, which causes Covid-19, on food processing surfaces.

This project will identify models for SARS-CoV-2 to validate cleaning procedures in the food industry and will implement a rapid diagnostic system for the detection of SARS-CoV-2 and other viruses on food contact surfaces. This automated device will be placed directly in food processing facilities, providing results in less than one hour without the need for complex instrumentation or specialized personnel. So far, sample analysis laboratories require up to seven days.

This technology would also be used to detect other emerging viruses. Development and validation of the device will be ongoing over the next few months and the partners expect it to be ready for market by the end of the year.

"The device, BEAMitup, designed by the company SwissdeCode, consists of a rapid molecular detection system," explains CSIC researcher Gloria Sánchez from the Institute of Agrochemistry and Food Technology (IATA-CSIC), which is leading the Spanish participation in the project. "This system offers the advantage that it can be used in-situ and that the results are obtained very quickly".

The project, called COVID-19 BEAMitup, is funded with 792,000 euros by the EIT Foods Fund, an EU call for rapid response to Covid-19. This project will be carried out by a consortium of five European companies and research institutions: SwissDeCode (CH), Microbion (IT), IATA-CSIC (ES), University of Helsinki (FI) and Eurofins (FR).

Food innovation in Europe

EIT Food is a pioneering European food innovation initiative. It is formed by a consortium of major industry players, startups, research centres and universities from all over Europe. It is one of eight Innovation Communities established by the European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT), an independent EU body set up in 2008 to boost innovation and entrepreneurship in Europe.