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Greek Startup Develops Hand-Held Covid Detection Device

The Iris device. Credit: Biopix DNA Technology P.C./LinkedIn

Greek startup Biopix-T has developed a mobile Covid-19 detection device, called Iris, which can identify the presence of the virus in a sample in just half an hour. The device, which functions just like a mini laboratory, is expected to be put on the market in 2021.

The Iris, which was created using 3D printing technology, is small enough to be held in one’s hand. This means that the device can be used to sniff out the virus’s RNA anywhere — in airports, businesses, or even at home — in a matter of minutes.

According to trials, the Iris’s test results are just as accurate as standard Covid-19 tests conducted in laboratories. When tested, the device correctly identified 97% of positive virus samples, and 100% of the negative ones.

Although it performs like a laboratory test, the Iris device does not require the expensive, heavy equipment and materials used in the PCR molecular tests — equipment that costs nearly ten times the price of the Iris.

The size, accuracy, and cost of the device, less than 1,000 euros ($1,186.41), make it attractive to private businesses and even nations which are hoping to boost their rapid Covid-19 testing. The startup has already been approached by countries across the world that are interested in purchasing the device on a large scale.

In March, as the coronavirus was rapidly spreading across the world, bringing national lockdowns and death wherever it went, the European Commission offered funding to any startups in Europe that were developing innovative plans to aid in the fight against Covid-19.

After submitting their proposal for the cutting-edge device to the Commission, the Greek startup Biopix-T received funding for the creation of the Iris.

Biopix-T, which has its headquarters in Heraklion, Crete, was co-founded by Greek physician George Papadakis in December of 2019.

Dr. Papadakis, who was part of the team that invented the device, studied Biology at the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, and pursued a Master’s in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at the University of Sussex. He later returned to Greece for his PHD, which he received from the University of Crete.

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