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Generation of antibodies against SARS-CoV-2 based on recombinant proteins and development of rapid tests for a direct detection of viruses

The project

More sensitive tests for the detection of viruses

For more than 2 years, the COVID-19 pandemic has continued to take hold. Especially when infection numbers are high, one thing is important: reliable rapid tests. RT-PCR is considered the so-called gold standard, but it depends on access to the virus genome and therefore requires specialised personnel, material and time. For the rapid detection of SARS-CoV-2 viruses, mainly antigen rapid tests were and are still in use, which have also become established for self-tests. These usually detect viral antigens in saliva or nasopharyngeal swab samples, but are less sensitive and less specific in comparison.

The aim of the DIRECT-Dx project is to develop a sensitive diagnostic test that detects the presence of SARS-CoV-2 viruses directly from patient samples without having to access the viruses’ DNA. The research group of Prof. Frank Bier at the University of Potsdam, together with the company Preclinics, is developing peptides and monoclonal antibodies for this purpose, which can bind the antigens directly from the samples very specifically and sensitively.

(pseudo)viruses and their antigens

peptides and antibodies as strong virus binders

LFA test stripes for rapid diagnostics

This specific binding should be detected and characterised using easy-to-use and well-established chemical reactions and then also transferred into a format suitable for home testing. The most common format for a rapid test is a lateral flow assay, in which the sample flows over a paper strip and the signal generated by an interaction of the viral antigens with the peptides and antibodies is translated in real time, e.g. into a colour change.

The work is funded by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (grant no. 03COV24).


Cooperation partners

Prof. Dr. Frank Bier - PI

University Potsdam

The research group Molecular Bioanalytics and Bioelectronics at the University of Potsdam, headed by Prof. Frank Bier, conducts research in the field of medical diagnostics with a focus on the development of point-of-care tests and assays for interaction analyses. For the application-oriented research work, it cooperates closely with numerous non-university research institutions and companies.


Jonas Füner

preclinics GmbH

preclinics GmbH, based in Potsdam, is an experienced contract research organisation offering preclinical studies for innovative biological drugs and vaccines. Since 2007, they have been offering in vitro and in vivo assays for the preclinical development of therapeutics. At four different locations in Germany and Italy, they have laboratories for almost every need, including animal testing facilities, biosafety laboratories, molecular and cell biology. This laboratory infrastructure enables preclinics to manage complex and challenging projects.


Always up to date


Get in touch

Project management

Prof. Dr. Frank Bier

T +49 (0) 331 977230128