The University Fund Eindhoven (UFE) donates 250,000 euros to TU/e researchers Maarten Merkx, Peter Zijlstra and Andrea Fiore for their joint project to develop faster and cheaper detection techniques for COVID-19 and future viral infections. The UFE money comes from alumni of the TU/e.
Henk Kivits, chairman of the University Fund Eindhoven: “One of our main goals is to link alumni donations to health research projects. Especially now, there is an acute need for initiatives to flourish that help curb the Coronavirus. We therefore strongly hope that our contribution will help the TU/e researchers to quickly make available the improved test technology that is so desperately needed”.
Robert-Jan Smits, Chairman of the Executive Board of the TU/e: “We are delighted with this generous gift from the UFE. It shows the social commitment of our alumni and their involvement in TU/e’s research. The supported project is an excellent choice. It focuses on the most acute problem worldwide, and it lies at the intersection of two areas in which TU/e excels, health technology and photonics”.
The reason for the research is that existing technology to demonstrate COVID-19 is far from perfect. There are no tests yet that can quickly and reliably determine whether someone has antigens (virus proteins) in their blood, and is therefore infected. There is also a strong need for handy tests that can quickly show whether someone has antibodies in their blood, and is, or has been infected. And the available tests do not give a definite answer right on the spot, in other words, they are not ‘point-of-care’. The tests require several steps, which is costly and takes time.