Molecular diagnostics is the fastest-growing segment of the global in vitro diagnostics market, but the vast majority of these tests require expensive equipment and supplies, limiting their use to medical facilities. There is a large unmet need for cheap, readily accessible, accurate diagnostic tests that can be deployed in non-clinical settings to address threats to public health, from common infectious diseases to regional epidemics and global pandemics to natural disasters to pollution.
The Wyss Institute’s Instrument-Free Molecular Diagnostics technology is a freeze-dried, cell-free reaction technology that uses two different kinds of freeze-dried pellets: one containing molecular “machinery” that cells use to translate DNA and RNA into proteins, the other containing customizable DNA “instructions” that direct the production of an easy-to-measure signal that indicates the presence of any nucleic acid or protein. When the two types of pellets are combined and rehydrated with water, the instructions and machinery together produce the desired biomolecular product without the need for living cells. This on-the-go biomolecule synthesis enables the production of cheap yet sophisticated diagnostic tests that can be stored at room temperature, as well as other applications in which the detection of a target molecule without lab equipment is desired.