SAN DIEGO, Oct. 15, 2020 /PRNewswire/ — Menon Biosensors, Inc. (“Menon” or the “Company”), a distributive technology portfolio company, announced today that it’s advanced to the semi-finalist round of the $5 million XPRIZE Rapid COVID Testing Competition for its advanced system and method for detecting the SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19) virus. The assay, known as Molecular Mirror™, is a diagnostic platform that detects bacterial and viral pathogens within 30 minutes with 100% accuracy.
The Molecular Mirror™ assay has achieved 100% detection of various pathogens with no false positives in multiple double-blind tests validated by the US Department of Homeland Security, the US Defense Threat Reduction Agency, various universities and private clients. Menon’s rapid, ultra-low Level of Detection and specific assay for detection of SARS-CoV-2 virus is based on binding Menon’s proprietary magnetic nanoparticles to the virus’ unique strands of nucleic acids. Menon has demonstrated high-throughput detection of pathogens using existing Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) systems that are common in standard metropolitan hospitals at a minimal cost per sample.
“By leveraging existing hospital MRI equipment, Menon’s COVID-19 screening technology is capable of sample testing rates of greater than 100,000 samples daily per site,” said Dr. Suresh Menon, Founder and President of Menon. “With support from existing sample collection stations and existing MRI sites, we can rapidly screen large population groups within a period of hours. The fundamental technology was validated by the US Department of Homeland Security and Department of Defense from 2006-2012.”
The Molecular Mirror™ assay achieves high sensitivity and specificity by use of magnetic nanoparticles functionalized with target-specific biomarkers that bind to specific regions of a pathogen’s genome. The sample, with bound nanoparticles, is then processed to produce a change in its magnetic properties, specifically the “spin-spin relaxation time,” thus producing a signal that can be isolated by MRI equipment leading to the detection of the COVID-19 virus.
“The technology is extremely accurate, highly effective, versatile and applicable to identification of virtually any virus strain. It has been adapted for detection of the SARS-CoV-2 virus with automated processing, simple sample preparation (saliva, sputum or blood), and minimal handling,” Dr. Menon said.
XPRIZE Rapid COVID Testing is a $5 million, six-month competition to develop faster, cheaper and easier-to-use COVID-19 testing methods at scale. For the semi-finals, 219 teams from 35 countries were selected. Semi-finalists will be competing to accurately identify a proficiency panel of 150-200 blinded samples, each containing synthetic SARS-CoV-2 RNA and inactivated viral particles.
Semi-finalist teams will be sent a blinded Proficiency Test Kit and be required to accurately identify which samples contain SARS-CoV-2 viral RNA. Teams will have one week to submit their results to the XPRIZE Data Collaborative, where their results will be scored on specificity, sensitivity and limits of detection. Finalists will be announced on Oct. 23, 2020.
A $1 million grand prize will be awarded to each of the top five teams that develop frequent, fast, cheap, and easy COVID-19 screening solutions that help meet the surging demand for tests and relieve the global supply chain. Final event details will be shared later.
For more information about Menon, please visit us at www.menonbiosensors.com.
About Menon Biosensors, Inc.
Menon Biosensors, Inc., a subsidiary of Menon International, Inc., is a molecular biochemistry company that provides DNA analysis for the diagnosis of biological pathogens. Menon Biosensors’ Molecular Mirror™ NMR-based platform technology (classified by the U.S. Government until 2012) provides superior sensitivity and specificity, and minimizes sample preparation, providing best in class sample-to-answer pathogen detection. The technology has been validated by respected Universities and diagnostic companies.
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, visitxprize.org.
CMW Media, President
Menon Biosensors, Inc.
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