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MORIARTY: A Rapid, Highly Sensitive, Nucleic Acid Detection Method

Tech ID:
Principal Investigator:
Dr. Hong Li
Licensing Manager:
  • Patent Pending

The COVID-19 Pandemic demonstrated the need for rapid, affordable, and accurate virus testing methods. While the standard Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR)-based methods remain effective and widely used, they require hours to complete and are unable to directly detect virus variants and other subtle changes to genetic material. Additionally, PCR lacks the possibility for testing under limited resources.

MORIARTY (an acronym for Multipronged, One-pot, RNA-Induced, Affordable, Rapid, Test sYstem) is an enzyme-based method that can detect nucleic acids from a variety of sources, including the SARS-CoV2 coronavirus, seasonal flu varieties, and circulating tumor DNA for early cancer detection. This detection method is consistent with the accuracy of PCR methods but is considerably faster does not require costly equipment, with results available in as little as 15 minutes.

The technology utilizes CRISPR-Cas enzymes to detect genetic material and induce a fluorescent signal. The system can be easily repurposed and reprogramed for any genetic material detection, including viral RNA, viral DNA, and ctDNA, and can be used to detect variants with single-nucleotide resolution. This fidelity, for example, can detect the difference between the various coronavirus variants with the same point-of-care test. It can also be used for liquid biopsies to test for ctDNA for various cancers.