REFLEX Analytical proudly reaffirms we remain in the fight against COVID-19 and seeks to partner with collaborators within the scientific community who are also demonstrating similar efforts. A promising article in
Spectroscopy Magazine January 2022
reveals FT-IR spectroscopy has found success in determining an individual’s Covid status. The method referred to as Attenuated Total Reflection Fourier Transform Infrared Spectroscopy (ATR-FT-IR) sampled 3 µL of extract that was directly scanned with a Jasco 4600 ATR-FT-IR spectrometer. The spectra collected at 2 cm-1 resolution in the range of 600–4500 cm-1 was then processed using a variety of machine learning techniques. The results of the study, conducted on 280 samples (100 Covid-positive, 180 Covid-negative) of mostly asymptomatic males and females between the ages of 11 and 67 years old indicate that ATR-FT-IR has an estimated 98% accuracy, 97% sensitivity, and 98% specificity. These statistics are similar to clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats (CRISPR)-based statistics. The authors suggest that the total analysis time could be as little as 1 to 1.5 minutes. The limit of detection of 10 RNA copies per milliliter is also competitive with CRISPR and the low-end of RT-PCR detection limits. ATR-FT-IR offers substantial potential as the next generation Covid-19 detection method. Key attributes include high accuracy, sensitivity, and specificity, combined with speed and ease of use. As the Covid-19 virus becomes increasingly endemic, we should hope that our Covid-19 testing methods become both less intrusive and more accurate. Collecting saliva samples is much easier and more comfortable than nasal swabbing, for example.
REFLEX Analytical believes the CovidIR Analyzer as an automated attenuated total reflectance accessory which performs in the full mid-infrared spectral range 5000 – 400 cm-1 meets the detection criteria of high accuracy, sensitivity, and specificity, combined with speed and ease of use. The accessory incorporates a removable X – Y microtiter plate platform for easy loading and unloading of samples. Using a 24 well microtiter plate format enables 24 unique measurements to be conducted within one run. Each well plate made from stainless steel consists of 24 individual and removable 500µm thick Silicon micro ATR crystals with a 7 x 9mm sampling area suitable for low and high viscosity samples. The Silicon also has an extremely inert sampling surface and is ideal for substances having a pH between 1 - 12. The changeable ATR crystals also offer the opportunity to store the samples and to prepare different samples. The Silicon crystals may also functionalize outside the microplate for examination under microscope because the crystals are removable and interchangeable. Additionally, the microplates can be sterilized in an autoclave for repeated use.
Automated software is integrated with the accessory to control motion and data acquisition. USB and DC power are the only external connections required. The software control drives highly accurate servo motors with optical encoders for speed and reproducibility. Data collection is enabled through communication with most FTIR software programs. The software allows for traceability by facilitating multiple users. Sample descriptions may be entered manually or uploaded from a spreadsheet and sample information can be stored with the spectral file. For ease of file finding, the program offers numerous file name schemes such as time stamp or unique file prefix naming. It also incorporates options for calling macros to execute post-processing commands such as peak picking, report generation and export data to a spreadsheet format.
The heart of the accessory is its optical design based on a precision fabricated ellipsoidal reflector which has been Diamond turned for optimal performance. The optics demagnify the beam to a size that fills the active sampling area. The accessory’s in-compartment mounting will fit most FTIR spectrometers. Contact REFLEX Analytical to discuss interfacing with your instrument. The prospects of providing a demonstration unit can also be considered although either a 12 well or 24 well microtiter plate will be required for purchase due to the nature of sampling.