RAM Group Germany Awarded XPRIZE for Rapid COVID Testing Using Sensors Instead of PCR Tests—Ushering in New Age of Digital Diagnostics
Groundbreaking Diagnostic Platform Provides Faster, Cheaper COVID Test Results in Less Than Two Minutes, Detecting Variants and Very Low Viral Thresholds
ZWEIBRUCKEN, Germany, April 20, 2021 (Newswire.com) - RAM Group DE GmbH (RAM Group), a German sensor company that is part of RAM Group Global PTE LTD, has been selected from more than 700 companies as one of nine winners of the $6M XPRIZE Rapid COVID Testing Competition; a global challenge to develop faster, cheaper, and easier to use COVID-19 testing methods at scale with the potential to open up schools, offices and the broader economy. RAM Group was awarded the prize in the Open Innovation Category for their Terahertz-based digital diagnostic platform (ThEA) that identifies the COVID-19 virus and other pathogens via direct, electronic detection without the need of costly chemical reagents or lab testing.
With the ability to process samples in less than two minutes, RAM Group's ThEA platform can manage real-time testing in settings such as schools, airports, large employers, and stadiums where large numbers of people congregate and risk spreading the virus.
"Conventional PCR approaches to diagnostics are based on biochemistry and have complicated protocols, requiring special reagents and are difficult to scale. RAM Group decided to approach diagnostics from a physics and semiconductor perspective and have made a breakthrough with the potential to reshape diagnostics," said RAM Group Global CEO and founder Ayal Ram. "Our ThEA platform is biochemical free—contactless, portable, completely digital, and extremely user-friendly and offers significantly stronger viral detection, delivering fast, accurate results even before a patient exhibits symptoms of viral infection."
The Terahertz Express Analyzer (ThEA) represents a wholly new approach to diagnostics by employing RAM Group's next-generation sensor technology using terahertz frequencies to detect a pathogen's genetic frequency signature - the energy release pattern unique to each type of biomolecule. The ThEA platform can detect any pathogen's unique genetic frequency signature and is capable of detecting new variants and performs better than other solutions in the market at low viral thresholds.
The platform represents the first application of semiconductor science to SARS-CoV-2 testing and offers a cloud-connected diagnostic that yields accurate analysis at the point of use and provides secure, sharable data—all in less than two minutes. It requires no expensive chemical reagents, no cumbersome transportation of samples, and no specialized laboratories. Testing via throat swabs or RAM Group's proprietary breathalyzer yields accurate diagnoses in under two minutes.
The digital nature of the ThEA platform means that RAM Group can potentially diagnose any pathogen and update the system in a fraction of the time required by biochemistry-based protocols. When the next pandemic threat hits, a software update with the new genetic frequency signature can be pushed out to the machines within a day of receipt of samples. There is no need for a long delay as new reagents, cartridges, and primers are shipped around the world.
Dr. Jody Ranck (RAM Group EVP, Global Health Strategy) notes that the ThEA platform is ideal for pandemic preparedness efforts due to the simplicity and scalability that gives public health departments much more agility in responding to biosecurity threats.
"With a digital diagnostic platform such as ThEA, we can respond earlier and minimize the need for lockdowns and loss of life. One of the biggest lessons we learned in 2020 is that rapid, scalable diagnostics are the cornerstone of effective strategies to contain epidemics," Rank said. "Investments in platforms such as ThEA will be vital to successful global biosecurity efforts of the future. Networks of decentralized, digital diagnostics can make a dramatic difference in our response to threats in contrast to centralized laboratories with RT-PCR approaches used currently."
The ThEA COVID-19 test currently has CE approval for use in the European Union, Ministry of Health and Protection (MOHAP) approval for the United Arab Emirates. RAM Group is currently completing testing in the US for submission of Emergency Use Authorization to the FDA.
About RAM Group
RAM Group is a German next-generation sensor company that shifted focus to COVID testing in the early stages of the pandemic after realizing the potential to harness their technology to develop a novel digital diagnostic platform that was simpler to use than traditional RT-PCR tests. ThEA is as accurate as RT-PCR with high levels of sensitivity, less expensive, and faster than existing protocols. Furthermore, a digital diagnostic platform represents a significant breakthrough in the diagnostics sector with wide-ranging implications for the future.
XPRIZE is a global future-positive movement of over 1M people and rising, delivering truly radical breakthroughs for the benefit of humanity. XPRIZE inspires and empowers a global community of problem-solvers to positively impact our world by crowdsourcing solutions through large-scale competitions, tackling the world's grandest challenges in exploration, environment, and human equity. Active competitions include the $20 Million NRG COSIA Carbon XPRIZE, $10 Million XPRIZE Rainforest, $15 Million XPRIZE Feed the Next Billion, $10 Million ANA Avatar XPRIZE, $6 Million XPRIZE Rapid Covid Testing, $5 Million IBM Watson AI XPRIZE, $5 Million XPRIZE Rapid Reskilling, $1 Million Next-Gen Mask Challenge, and $500,000 Pandemic Response Challenge. Donate, sign up or join a team at xprize.org.
For More Information Contact: Jody Ranck, DrPH (email@example.com)
Source: RAM Group Global PTE LTD