SARS-rapid: Fast and sensitive detection of SARS viruses



Due to the current COVID-19 pandemic as well as previous and potential future SARS outbreaks, it is of high medical importance to be able to rapidly detect SARS viruses in diverse samples.

In the SARS-rapid project, methods are therefore being investigated to enable detailed elucidation of the viral-induced cellular signal transduction processes for improved identification of the infection and for drug discovery, and to realize specific and rapid virus detection, even if the viruses are only present in very low concentrations in the available samples. To this end, the project work combines the latest signal transduction research, modern purification methods based on magnetic nanoparticles and highly sensitive optical readout methods and is divided into three thematic areas:

  • Investigation of signaling pathways in the host cell after contact with the virus. Based on a detailed understanding of the signalling pathways triggered in human cells after infection with Covid-19, starting points can be found to identify the disease early and reliably and to evaluate new treatment options.
  • Concentration of viruses above the detection limit and detection. Using a virus-antibody reaction, the viruses are labeled with magnetic nano- and microparticles, concentrated and then detected and quantified using optical methods.
  • Development of optical detection methods for the identification, quantification and characterization of purified virus particles and the sensitive observation of cellular signal transduction processes after viral infection. This includes methods based on state-of-the-art fluorescence, Raman and iSCAT microscopy and spectroscopy.