California Polytechnic State University (Cal Poly) in the US has collaborated with medical device manufacturer Hardy Diagnostics to bring its Covid-19 saliva testing technology to the market.

Developed by the university’s faculty, the new device was originally developed to help streamline on-campus Covid-19 testing for students and employees of the university.

It is developed based on existing reverse transcription quantitative polymerase chain reaction (RT-qPCR) technology.

The device is a strip that allows the collection of a saliva sample from an individual’s mouth in 30 seconds. It is said to be less invasive compared to a nasal swab.

Using the new device, Cal Poly was able to double the tests it runs each day as well as reduce the workload needed to perform the tests.

Cal Poly biological sciences associate professor Nathaniel Martinez said: “When placed in one’s mouth, the device automatically absorbs the exact amount of saliva required for the test and excludes potential contaminants like mucus.

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“Thanks to the improved quality of samples and consistency of sample size, the tests can be run more efficiently.”

With assistance from the Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship (CIE), the Technology Transfer and Corporate Engagement and Innovation offices at Cal Poly have filed for protection of the patent and identified commercialisation partners for further development of the device.

Cal Poly corporate engagement and innovation associate vice-president Jim Dunning said: “The device was developed and refined for the SARS-CoV-2 virus, but our team quickly realised it could also function as a platform saliva collection device for testing a panel of other viruses in the future.

“We found a fantastic local partner in Hardy Diagnostics to scale this technology for the greatest public good.”

Under the terms of the license deal, Hardy Diagnostics will develop the new saliva-based Covid-19 testing technology to bring it to market.

In April, Hardy Diagnostics launched the Matrix-Assisted Laser Desorption/Ionised Time of Flight instrument in partnership with Autobio.