Edmonton company creates new COVID-19 rapid test technology that can detect other diseases

New technology developed in Edmonton to make taking a rapid test for COVID-19 easier may be used to detect other diseases.

During the pandemic, GLC Medical Inc. rushed to create a better rapid test that could produce results under a minute and is less invasive.

The test uses electrochemical impedance spectroscopy (EIS), a technique mainly used in research labs to investigate material properties and electrode reactions.

"Over decades of research, it has not been achieved for reproducible, repeatable results," said Donna Mandau, GLC Medical founder, president and CEO.

"In the last seven to eight months, we have worked mostly on optimizing this technology, achieving a reproducible sensor and again optimizing this EIS technique to be applied on these sensors," said Dr. Ushula Tefashe, a scientist working on the project.

"It is the first of its kind and it is a global breakthrough," Tefashe said.

To use the test, you place a saliva collector in your mouth under your tongue for about 30 seconds. That sample is then mixed with a solution and placed on a reader with a microchip.

The chip is read by a sensor, with results displayed on a computer in seconds.

Mandau says the company is exploring techniques to use the rapid test to detect other diseases, like HIV, malaria, and ebola.

"We also have the potential for (the detection) of cancer markers," Mandau added.

"That's really just the beginning," said Mikolai Vajda, a lab technician.

"It can be used for other viruses, other platforms any other biologicals found in the human body," he said. "Like this is really the introduction to lab on a chip."

GLC Medical hopes to connect with a partner to manufacture the rapid tests on a larger scale and make it the new standard.

"It's now time to bring this to the market and to the world," Tefashe said.