The team made up of Ahmadu Bello University (ABU) Zaria, 12-15 Molecular Diagnostics and African Biosciences Ltd has been selected as a semi-finalist in the XPRIZE Rapid COVID-19 Testing competition. The patented rapid response diagnostic device designed by 12-15 Molecular Diagnostics can detect COVID-19 using saliva samples. By algorithmically analyzing the results with the 12-15 Molecular Diagnostics machine learning system, the test can provide 95% accuracy and early detection, even when there are no symptoms.
Molecular Diagnostics Inc. of East Haven, CT has partnered with African Biosciences Ltd. based in Ibadan, Nigeria, and Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, Nigeria to form a team to develop, manufacture and distribute a rapid point-of-care diagnostic COVID-19 device called Veralize primarily in Africa.
The team has reached the Semi-Finals of XPRIZE Rapid COVID-19 Testing competition to select the best entrepreneurial and scientific teams under one objective to ultimately get the world up and running again. The team leaders are Dr. Saion Sinha, CEO/Founder of 12-15 Molecular Diagnostics, Inc., Dr. Ikhide Imumorin, CEO/Founder of African Biosciences Ltd. and Dr. Emmanuel Balogun- Senior Lecturer of Biochemistry at Ahmadu Bello University.
12-15 Molecular Diagnostics, headquartered in East Haven, Connecticut is a company that has developed and patented a rapid-response diagnostic device designed to detect COVID-19 and other viral or bacterial infections using biofluids. Veralize is their rapid response COVID-19 test device using saliva samples.
The core of the technology is the use of carbon nanotube testing strips that provide an electrical signal when the primed virus nucleic acid information encoded on the chip matches nucleic acid from any virus in the sample. Half of the virus DNA/RNA in the test strip acts as a lock and the test sample serves as the key.
By algorithmically analyzing the results with the 12-15 Molecular Diagnostics machine learning system, the test can provide 95% accuracy and early detection, even when there are no symptoms of the virus present in the individual.
Working with their African partners the testing will be undertaken at Ahmadu Bello University with support from African Biosciences Ltd. African Biosciences Ltd will be responsible for the distribution and marketing of the device throughout Africa. The Veralize device platform can also be used to address other Africa-endemic microbial diseases for humans, animals, and plants.
Although Africa has reported over a million COVID-19 cases it seems to come through the pandemic relatively well. The reported death rate per capita has been low compared with other parts of the world, despite the poor health infrastructure in many African countries.
The World Health Organization has reported that this could be attributed to the relatively young population in Africa – more than 60% under the age of 25 and because COVID-19 is known to have a higher mortality rate for older age groups, and health problems like obesity and type 2 diabetes are also less common in Africa.
The low COVID-19 positive numbers in Africa also could be attributed to the current inability to test a major section of the population due to resource constraints. In any case, testing is critical to continue to contain the virus.
Dr. Saion Sinha, CEO/Founder of 12-15 Molecular Diagnostics Inc., is an inventor with several US and world patents in nanotechnology including the ones used by the Veralize Device, including some that have been commercialized. He is also a Professor of Biomedical Engineering and Electrical Engineering at the University of New Haven.
His work encompasses nanotechnology, biosensor, and bio-instrumentation technology. He has authored numerous well-cited articles in scientific and industry journals and has also been nominated for the Blavatnik Award from the New York Academy of Sciences and was a nominee for the Connecticut Medal of Science.
Dr. Ikhide Imumorin is Founder and CEO of African Biosciences Ltd., Ibadan, Nigeria, a biotech and molecular biology research support company. He also serves as an Adjunct Professor in the School of Biological Sciences at Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta. African Biosciences Ltd is collaborating with 12-15 Molecular Diagnostics Inc to validate the Veralize device for COVID-19 testing and other microbial diseases in Africa.
Dr. Emmanuel Balogun is a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Biochemistry, Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, Nigeria (ABU). He is a member of the Technical Team for COVID-19 at ABU, and presently collaborating with 12-15 Molecular Diagnostics Inc. and African Bioscience Ltd for the laboratory validation of Veralize on clinical samples for diagnosis of COVID-19 and some Africa-endemic diseases.
XPRIZE, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, is the global leader in designing and implementing innovative competition models to solve the world’s grandest challenges. Active competitions include the $20 Million NRG COSIA Carbon XPRIZE, the $10 Million Rainforest XPRIZE, the $10 Million ANA Avatar XPRIZE, the $5 Million IBM Watson AI XPRIZE, $5 Million XPRIZE Rapid Reskilling, XPRIZE NextGen Mask Challenge, and $5 Million XPRIZE Rapid COVID Testing. For more information, visit xprize.org.
Launched on July 28, 2020, XPRIZE Rapid COVID-19 Testing is a $5 million, a 6-month competition that aims to increase COVID-19 testing capabilities 100-times past our current standard, the level of increase needed to return to everyday activities more safely. In September 219 teams were named to the semi-finals after being assigned a “pass” by XPRIZE judges.
A $1-million grand prize will be awarded to each of the top five teams that develop frequent, fast, cheap, and easy-to-use COVID-19 screening technology that helps meet the surging demand for tests and relieve the global supply chain. Final event details will be shared at a later date.
Dr. Saion Sinha, firstname.lastname@example.org
Dr. Ikhide Imumorin, email@example.com
Dr. Emmanuel Balogun, firstname.lastname@example.org