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Lassonde leads novel research on detection tool for hidden symptoms of COVID-19

Using microelectronics, machine learning and samples of saliva, a team of researchers led by York University Professor Ebrahim Ghafar-Zadeh is working to develop a new technology that would detect symptoms of COVID-19 infection – even in those who present as asymptomatic. 

Working with Professor Micheal Glogauer (University of Toronto), Professor Amir Sanati Nezhad (University of Calgary), as well as students (Abbas Panahi, Hamed Osouli Tabrizi), a research assistant (Negin Mansourifat) and a postdoctoral Fellow (Shahin Ebrahimi) at York University, Ghafar-Zadeh is investigating the development of fast, reliable and inexpensive testing that requires only a simple saliva test. The work is being performed at York University’s Biologically Inspired Sensors and Actuators Laboratory (BioSA). 

The research team, initially joining together to research periodontal and cardiovascular diseases, quickly pivoted their focus to the SARS-CoV-2 virus when the pandemic struck, earning support from CIHR (Canadian Institutes of Health Research), Mitacs, SOSCIP (Smart Computing for Innovation), Google and CMC Microsystems. 

The technology aims to provide near-instant, on-the-spot results, said Ghafar-Zadeh, adding the team hopes to use machine learning and advanced biosensor technology to perform tests for approximately $1 and have results available in less than two minutes. 

“Fast, reliable and inexpensive testing is an important tool in the fight against COVID-19. Our platform will also be highly portable and able to reach vulnerable and populations across Canada and around the world,” said Ghafar-Zadeh, who is known for combining biology and engineering in his research on biosensors. 

Read the full YFile article here