A University of the Philippines Los Banos (UPLB) alumni is leading the development of Covid-19 testing technology in Switzerland.
In an article posted on its website, UPLB said that Catharine Aquino-Fournier graduated with a degree in Biology in 1996 and a master’s degree in Genetics in 2003. She now heads the HiDRA-seq application of the University of Zurich and the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology.
Fournier told the campus-based internet radio program Radyo DZLB that the HiDra-seq method is similar to the real-time reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (rRT-PCR) except it skips the extraction of genetic material which decreases processing time.
“In the technology we developed, we are trying to skip the part of the extracting the genetic material and get it straight from saliva, or gargles, or directly from the swab. The difference is that [while] in rRT-PCR, the output is a fluorescent intensity, in our test, the output is Covid-specific sequences. Since we have the sequences, we can determine the strain of the virus depending on the mutation that we find,” she said.