March 1, 2022: VirMScan - Mass spectrometric rapid diagnostics for the detection of respiratory viruses

Tuesday, 01. March 2022

Under the coordination of Dr. Pietro Scaturro and Prof. Charlotte Uetrecht, the project Mass Spectrometric Rapid Diagnostics of Respiratory Viruses in Saliva and Gargle Solution (VirMScan) will start on March 1, 2022. The aim is to develop a mass spectrometry-based test kit for decentralized diagnostics of respiratory viruses and to establish an early warning system for new virus  variants.

Under the project title VirMScan - Mass Spectrometric Rapid Diagnostics of Respiratory Viruses in Saliva and Gargle Solution, a 3-years project is starting at the HPI to develop a test kit for home use based on mass spectrometric approaches to detect respiratory viruses such as coronaviruses (including SARS-CoV-2), Influenza viruses or Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV).

"The gold standards in virus diagnostics to date have been PCR tests. However, these are specific to certain viruses, so testing different viruses has to be done separately. Mass spectrometry, on the other hand, enables the parallel testing of many different viruses in one and the same measurement," says HPI junior research group leader Dr. Pietro Scaturro, explaining the background of the project.

"Independent sampling from home using a test kit is also a great advantage. Through cooperation with companies from the mass spectrometry and pharmaceutical sectors, the test kit will ultimately be further developed to be ready for the market and for certification," explains Prof. Charlotte Uetrecht, head of the associated HPI group Dynamics of Viral Structures based at the Centre for Structural Systems Biology (CSSB) and professor at the University of Siegen.


The project will be funded by the Rahmenprogramm Gesundheitsforschung Deutschland of the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research within the funding measure Medizintechnik – Prävention und Versorgung epidemisch auftretender Infektionen for three years starting March 1, 2022, with approximately 3.5 million Euros.