Development of quartz crystal sensors and equipment for testing new coronavirus antigens

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Nihon Dempa Kogyo Co., Ltd. (Tokyo-based Shibuya-ku, Tokyo) has been developing
NAPiCOS series (*1) of laboratory instruments based on the QCM method (*2) that uses quartz
crystal as a sensors, which has been sold since 2010. We are now developing for testing new
coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) antigens.
We signed a research contract with Saitama Medical University (Moroyama-cho, Inuma-gun,
Saitama Prefecture) to conduct a verification test as “Verification the effectiveness of the
SARS-CoV2 antigen detection methods by the QCM method (*3).”
In the future, we will make use of the results of the verification test to develop products as
soon as possible.
There are more than 20 million people worldwide infected with the new coronavirus, and
there is no indication of convergence. In Japan, test using the PCR method that amplifies
genes are commonly performed, but the process of amplifying genes may result in longer
testing time and delays the appropriate treatment. Therefore, there is an increasing need for a
simple and rapid test methods in clinical practice.
We have been developing a portable size medical device based on “NAPiCOS Lite”, a small
QCM device sold as a laboratory device, with the aim of providing a simple, rapid, and highly
accurate test method. The QCM method detects the amount of molecular substances (pg/mL
equivalent) (*4) in real time as a change in frequencies, and thus provides highly sensitive
analytical results in a short time ranging from 5 to 10 minutes. In addition, since it is a simple
test method to drip a reaction reagent which is a mixture of the sample and a pretreatment
solution into the sensor inlet, and it is also possible to perform tests at small-scale clinics.
Our equipment and sensors using the QCM method are used as the above-mentioned
“NAPiCOS series” in research institutions, universities, companies, etc. in Japan, and are
mainly used in the biochemical research field. We will continue to contribute to the realization
of a safe, secure, and comfortable society by utilizing the knowledge of quartz crystal
technology developed in the our crystal device business.