29 February 2024
International education in the Netherlands: 'The newcomers as well as teachers are really hard workers'
- International student
- International talent
Point-of-care tests are the holy grail of medical diagnostics. They offer the opportunity to test patients – at home, the GP or in hospital, and have the results within minutes. Saving lives, time and valuable lab work.
The companies were already closely cooperating before the health crisis. Last year, LioniX and Qurin took over Surfix to accelerate their efforts to develop a photonic biochip for early detection of cancer. The Covid-19 test will be based on the same underlying principle. In fact, this principle can be used to detect many different entities. Not only viruses, but also DNA and RNA, proteins and other (bio) molecules. The partners fully intent to exploit that feature by developing not one, but two corona tests: one that tells if you have the disease and another that indicates if you have had it.
In general, the biochip works on the basis that the characteristics of light are altered when it passes through a waveguide that is coated with ‘hooks’ that ‘catch’ everything that is being tested for. If a sample solution is brought into contact with the waveguide and it contains a species that attaches itself to the hooks, the species will be detected through the changing characteristics of the light that is being led through the waveguide. All of this is possible thanks to the use of the proven integrated optical technology of LioniX and is based on silicon nitride (TriPleX), a key technology in the PhotonDelta ecosystem.
“This pandemic is a terrible thing, of course, but there’s beauty in the fact that – thanks to years of hard work and investment – all the necessary elements are ready to be put together to make a difference in managing the spread of the disease,” says Surfix CTO Luc Scheres. Heideman chimes in: “The coming period, we’re going to see a lot of claims of revolutionary new sensor technologies that will fight COVID-19. Most of them will be baseless. Our partnership stands out because we’ve been working on these technologies for many years already. It’s very mature.”
“The Netherlands has played a pioneering role in integrated photonics,” Heideman continues. “The rest of the world is catching up, but we recently moved up a gear by establishing PhotonDelta. This organization fosters collaboration between relevant local companies, thus creating a well-oiled ecosystem that spans the entire value chain. This, too, allows us to accelerate our current efforts to develop our biochip.”