Professor Dayong Jin, left, and his UTS team, Dr Jiajia Zhou, Associate Professor Olga Shimoni and Associate Professor Majid Warkiani. Photo by Toby Burrows
Original Published Date: 
Monday, August 9, 2021

Full article issued by the University of Technology Sydney.

ARC Laureate Fellow, Professor Dayong Jin, is an award-winning scientist and technology developer who has spent the past decade driving the transformation of photonics and materials into analytical, diagnostic and imaging devices for disease detection. Between 2016-2019 he was also the Director of the ARC Research Hub for Integrated Device for End-user Analysis at Low-levels (IDEAL Hub), as featured in a previous article in the ARC's ARChway newsletter.

Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, Professor Jin and his research group have worked to develop rapid COVID-19 tests that allow virus detection from asymptomatic patients. The team has adapted a novel 'Super Dot' technology to design a saliva test that detects both spike protein fragments and nucleoprotein fragments from the SARS-CoV2 virus, delivering results within 10 minutes.

The rapid antigen test works by collecting saliva in a cartridge placed in a newly developed VirulizerTM device by the Perth-based industry partner, Alcolizer Pty Ltd. Alcolizer has been a long-standing industry partner through the ARC Research Hub, working on drug detection technologies. During the pandemic, Alcolizer pivoted its’ technology for COVID detection and, in collaboration with Professor Jin and his team, have now developed a prototype COVID testing device and are ready to begin clinical trials in the near future.

Whereas existing COVID-19 tests are imported, the manufacture of these testing instruments would take place in Australia, at Alcolizer’s fully automated robotic facility in Balcatta, Western Australia.

'With the sensitivity of our optical technology, we aim to identify the viral protein in saliva from asymptomatic but already infectious patients. This would allow for much more effective contact tracing and rapid discovery of pockets of disease before it is transmitted to others,' says Professor Jin.

Alcolizer Senior Scientist Dr Olga Shimoni was a Chief Investigator at the IDEAL Hub before joining the company in April 2021, to help with the transfer of technology. Speaking to Createdigital, Dr Shimoni says that the technology is fully Australian.

'It is a technology that was born in Australia, was patented in Australia, and now will be manufactured in Australia.'  

Photo credit: 

Professor Dayong Jin, left, and his UTS team, Dr Jiajia Zhou, Associate Professor Olga Shimoni and Associate Professor Majid Warkiani. Photo by Toby Burrows/UTS.