Optimizing Rapid COVID19 Detection for the Windsor-Essex Community

Optimizing Rapid COVID19 Detection for the Windsor-Essex Community

Optimizing Rapid COVID19 Detection for the Windsor-Essex Community

Dr. Yufeng Tong

University of Windsor

FUNDER: WE-SPARK Health Institute and the Office of Research and Innovation Services, University of Windsor


Related Programs:
Nucleus Cores:

Early and fast detection of SARS-CoV-2, the virus responsible for the disease COVID-19, is critical for isolating infected patients to prevent community transmission. Currently, the Windsor-Essex region and most communities in Ontario suffer from insufficient testing capabilities. It takes more than a week for a patient's test result to come back to the patient's circle of care from the date of specimen collection. To make the situation worse, between 5% to 80% of people testing positive for SARS-CoV-2 may be asymptomatic, whereas, in Ontario, only at-risk patients with severe symptoms are currently eligible for testing and even these numbers are exceeding the capacity of our current test facilities. Furthermore, the test kits being used in Canada compete for reagents and equipment required also in the US and hence are becoming very limited. There is an urgent need to increase our testing capability and accessibility in the Windsor-Essex region and across Ontario and Canada. The goal of this project is to build the molecular diagnostic testing capability for COVID-19 in the Windsor-Essex region. In collaboration with a Canadian Biotechnology company, SM Research Inc. (SMR), we will test a rapid quantitative reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (qRT-PCR) COVID-19 testing kit and compare it to the gold standard available through the Public Health Ontario (PHO) laboratory. Once the SMR diagnostic kit is validated, SMR will help acquire more testing kits at a cost-recovery price, and the testing facility at UWindsor can run at full capacity. This could aid in reducing the strains on the testing capacity of the South-Western Ontario region and will provide a platform to answer a plethora of COVID-19 related questions for our region. This proposal will also build a collaboration network between the healthcare and health science research communities at the Windsor-Essex region and SMR for future infectious respiratory disease research and rapid diagnosis, including seasonal influenza, respiratory syncytial virus, hantavirus pulmonary syndrome, and many other emerging public health threats.


University of Windsor

  • Dr. Lisa Porter
  • Dr. Mohamed Belalia

Windsor Regional Hospital

  • Dr. Corinna Quan
  • Dr. Caroline Hamm


S.M. Research Inc.

  • Dr. Enders Ng