THE FEDERAL Government has awarded a Queensland biotechnology company $2.4 million to help it further develop its revolutionary disease-detecting technology.
XING Technologies has been granted funding under the Co-operative Research Centres Projects to develop a world-first on-farm disease detection platform for livestock.
The rapid and low-cost screening system would allow farmers to conduct their own mastitis testing of dairy cattle and is one of nine research projects that have been funded by the Morrison Government under round eight of the CRC-P funding.
The platform is designed to be utilised in future to detect a wide range of on-farm diseases affecting livestock and plants XING chief executive Tom Esplin said the portable technology could also be utilised in the future at airports and seaports to test incoming and departing passengers for viruses, such as the novel Coronavirus, and help contain deadly outbreaks.
“The technology was developed to identify pathogens, including viruses and bacteria, without requiring a laboratory or an expert to operate. It can positively identify specified diseases and produce accurate results within 40 minutes,” Mr Esplin said.
“Our scientists and manufacturing partners are working on an updated version that is smaller and will provide a diagnosis within 15 minutes.”
This could be used at entry and departure points without disrupting passenger flows,” he said.
“We routinely screen for dangerous weapons — why not routinely screen for dangerous diseases?”
“The key is having a non-intrusive and non-invasive method of detection, which is very fast and allows passengers to continue to move through international ports with minimal disruption.”
Mr Esplin said the platform currently detects diseases in humans, animals and fish and will shortly be trialled on plant material and human cancers.
“It has been designed in such a way that it can incorporate detection of new viruses as they emerge in the future,” Mr Esplin said.
“We could assist the Federal Government and health agencies to positively identify viruses such as Coronavirus,” he said.
Key features of the new generation Genosis diagnostic test are:
■ A cartridge half the size of a mobile phone, which uses XING’s patented Rapid DNA extraction technology.
■ Genetic information from a blood, urine or saliva sample is extracted within seconds for analysis.
■ The cartridge is then inserted into a reader that makes a fast diagnosis available within 15 minutes.
With standard disease testing, samples are sent away to a laboratory for analysis and results are usually not available for hours and sometimes days.