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Young Proteomics Investigators Club Webinar
May 28, 2021 @ 14:00 – 15:00
In light of its simple molecular composition, Sars-Cov-2 became a surprisingly big challenge for society and science. Fortunately, it leaves traces in the people it infects. RNA is currently the main target in diagnosis because it can be amplified. But from the start, the essential reagents fell short in supply and testing was curtailed. So early March 2020, a EuBIC scientist and a YPIC veteran (Bart Van Puyvelde and myself) wondered: could proteins be detected as well?
Diehard discovery people as we are, we turned to our trusted high resolution QTOF instruments and the latest in data analysis strategies and found a promising set of 17 biomarker peptides within two weeks. But then the question came: could these peptides be detected on tandem quadrupole instruments in a clinical setting? Well, I know these instruments contain three quadrupoles, which mainly sounds like overkill. So, we had to reach out and ask people that know something about targeted peptide detection if we ever wanted to make a relevant contribution.
Now, one year later, it is safe to say that Sars-Cov-2 proteins can be directly detected using mass spectrometry (Cov-MS) and that this can be implemented in a clinical setting. Because MS is so flexible, it will soon also detect Variants of Concern and other viruses such as influenza, without having to convert existing MS clinical facilities. MS is here to help, and it plans to stay.
In my talk, I will recount the development of the test with a special acknowledgement of the power of collaboration between industry (instrument vendors and others) and academia. How there was a sense of urgency and a realization that we were amongst the happy few that could potentially make a difference. I have not read Hobbes’s Leviathan, but while the selfish hedonist might always be a part of us, this time at least, it felt as if something bigger was at play…
Have a look at Linked In.