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GreyScan, an Australian explosive trace business for inorganic material, saw an immediate need to ‘re-imagine’ their bomb-detecting technology into virus-detecting technology. With assistance from CSIRO SME Connect, GreyScan accessed an Innovation Connections grant to support the research.

The challenge

A change in business direction

GreyScan were in the process of commercialising the world's first compact inorganic explosives trace detector when the SARS-CoV-2 COVID-19 pandemic hit.

The pandemic affected one of their main customer bases in airports and airlines, and rather than taking this as a negative, GreyScan identified an opportunity to adapt their technology from bomb-detection to virus-detection, putting them at the forefront of stopping the spread of the virus.

Our response

Engaging research expertise

GreyScan: Reimagining bomb-detection technology for COVID-19 tracing

With assistance from the Australian Government's Entrepreneurs' Programme, CSIRO SME Connect Innovation Connections Facilitator Joseph Dodd worked with GreyScan to acquire an Innovation Connections grant. The grant supported research collaboration with the University of Tasmania's Prof Michael Breadmore to bring the new virus-detection technology concept to lift.

The research aimed to develop a way to collect, analyse and detect viruses from surfaces within a few minutes.

The results

Expanding collaboration opportunities

The key outcomes were the development of a virus protein and virus nucleic acid detection for SARS-CoV-2, and method optimisation for sensitive and selective detection of SARS-CoV-2 virus like particles.

On completion of the initial biosensor research, a technology test was required against live SARS-Cov-2 samples. This led to an introduction to the Doherty Institute of Infection and Immunity to instigate a program of work.

The results at this stage of biosensor development to collect and detect the virus have been very promising and has provided GreyScan with thorough data, leading to confidence in the proof of concept and fast-track to initial trials using the SARS-Cov-2 virus at the Doherty Institute of Infection and Immunity.

This technology fills the capability gap by addressing infectivity; just how infectious a person is.

—Samantha Ollerton, CEO, GreyScan

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