A key aspect of controlling the spread of COVID-19, which is now in its seventh month as a global pandemic, is the ability to quickly and easily test individuals who may or may not be showing symptoms of the disease. If someone tests positive for the virus, they can be isolated so they do not transmit it to others.
A biotechnology company co-founded by a Caltech researcher is one of seven selected by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to participate in its Rapid Acceleration of Diagnostics (RADx) initiative, which aims to spur the development of COVID-testing technology.
The company, Talis Biomedical, was spun off from the lab of Rustem Ismagilov, Caltech's Ethel Wilson Bowles and Robert Bowles Professor of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering and director of the Jacobs Institute for Molecular Engineering for Medicine. Ismagilov is a member of the Talis board of directors and consults for the company.
Talis is developing a device that it calls the Talis One, which detects the genetic material of the COVID-19 virus and returns results in less than 30 minutes.
"The RADx initiative has enabled some of the nation's most creative biomedical device inventors to ramp up development of their testing technologies at unprecedented speed," said NIH Director Francis S. Collins in a prepared statement. "The innovations selected to date represent the diverse types of promising technologies that will serve the nation's testing needs."
Ismagilov's research focuses on the development of technologies and scientific knowledge needed to solve urgent problems in global health, including infectious disease diagnostics, antibiotic resistance, and control of gut microbial communities to improve human health.