Diagnostic testing for COVID-19 has proved not only critical in detecting the virus but essential in containing its spread.
Queensland University of Technology (QUT) researcher, Dr Kristyan Guppy-Coles is on a mission to optimise diagnostic testing for COVID-19.
With his Advance Queensland Industry Research Fellowship, he hopes to develop a rapid, highly-accurate and inexpensive test for detecting COVID-19.
If successful, it means a point-of-care test would be available that could be used by non-specialised healthcare staff, which could permit low-cost, rapid population screening and monitoring on a state, national, and even international scale.
We caught up with Dr Guppy-Coles to discuss how his Advance Queensland Industry Research Fellowship will support this invaluable research.
Could you tell us about your research?
My research team, industry partners and I intend to develop and validate a novel assay technique to permit sensitive and cost-effective detection of SARS-CoV-2 (COVID). This will be via a rapid COVID-19 antigen test using standard nasopharyngeal and throat swab collections.
We anticipate, if successful, this potential COVID-19 antigen test could be implemented as an automated benchtop point-of-care test used by non-specialised healthcare staff. This could permit low-cost, rapid population screening and monitoring on a state, national, and even possibly international scale.
How will the funding from Advance Queensland support you on your research journey?
I am very grateful to have received this fellowship as I am now able to progress with my novel research field which I have only recently entered.
It provides an opportunity to potentially develop a novel way to detect COVID-19. It will also help in gaining subsequent funding to determine if this novel assay technique could be used on other high impact clinical biomarkers for accurate, rapid and low-cost testing for various diseases and disorders via blood and/or body fluid.
How will your research benefit and assist Queenslanders?
I hope to demonstrate this novel technique is indeed accurate, fast and cheap, and then potentially develop an automated, benchtop commercial device. A device that could permit rapid, high-volume, point-of-care COVID-19 testing (using swab collections) that non-specialised healthcare staff could use all over Queensland; in COVID-19 screening or GP clinics, hospitals, and even possibly in aged care facilities or airports.
What does it mean to you to be a recipient of the Industry Research Fellowships program?
Being a recipient of the Industry Research Fellowships program provides me with the incredible honour of being alongside Queensland's best and brightest researchers to combat and manage this terrible COVID-19 pandemic. It has affected every Queenslander, Australian and human on Earth in some way and I intend to do my very best to demonstrate that I am worthy of being a part of this fellowship program.