We were delighted to feature in an article for Medscape UK entitled Could A Sugar Test Help To Protect Us Against A Future Pandemic?

In the article, our glycobiology R&D manager, Dr Michael Rugen discussed viral mutations, glycan flow-through spot testing, and the urgent need to develop diagnostics capable of producing faster and more accurate results.

He also explained how glycoscience can be used to effectively identify viruses capable of jumping to humans, by detecting unique and complex sugar chains instead of looking for viral nucleic acids or protein targets.

He told Medscape UK: “Viruses find the carbohydrates (sugars) that are on our cell surfaces, and that’s how they infect us.

“Sugar is not just glucose, it’s a suite of biomolecules that are very complicated in terms of their chemistry, and they’re very, very varied. In nature, you find a lot of variety of different types of carbohydrates, and it’s that variety that allows us to then go in and pick at specific ones.”

The article also focused on a recent study conducted by Iceni Glycoscience in partnership with the University of Warwick and University Hospitals Coventry and Warwickshire NHS Trust, and which was published in the journal  ACS Sensors  last October. This study clearly demonstrated that a glyco-lateral flow-through device, similar in size to the lateral flow test (LFT) widely used during the current pandemic, could be developed for detecting viruses, either as an alternative, or to complement antibody-based LFTs.

The prototype, which targeted the sialic acid-binding site of the spike protein of SARS-CoV-2, achieved 85% sensitivity and 93% specificity. Researchers were able to demonstrate that mutations in the virus do not remove glycan binding, which shows that lateral-flow and flow-through glyco-assays have the potential to detect a range of viruses.

You can read the article in full at: