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Simoa Sensitivity: Infectious Disease Screening, Therapeutics Development, And Disease Monitoring

By Kevin Hrusovsky

The sudden COVID-19 pandemic has prompted Quanterix to implement sweeping changes at an unprecedented pace. The time is now to unite our global community, take bold steps to halt the spread of this outbreak and minimize long-term impacts on global health.

Quanterix was quick to implement state-of-the-art best practices in its facilities to mitigate the risk of contracting or spreading the virus. As a result, we have been able to maintain all operations in support of our ultra-sensitive Simoa® technology, namely its analytical instruments, consumables, including important assays for COVID-19 research, and Accelerator Laboratory testing and assay development services. We are also collaborating with leading COVID -19 researchers and testing centers in the hardest-hit areas around the world – namely France, Spain, United States, United Kingdom, and China –to help quantitate critical biomarkers that may be related to disease severity (acute inflammatory response, cardiovascular damage, neurodegeneration). The ultra-sensitivity of our Simoa technology enables early detection of immunomodulatory proteins in blood at levels far below the reach of conventional immunoassay technologies. 

In addition, we are also innovating ultrasensitive assays for the detection of active viral infection and host immune response and conducting groundbreaking research and custom assay development in our CLIA-Licensed Accelerator services laboratory.  The Accelerator Laboratory services are expanding capacity and capability to: 

  • Support customers attempting to overcome interruptions in their laboratories
  • Sustain clinical trials given our breakthroughs in utilizing biomarker so improve drug approval probability
  • Address emergency testing needs, given new COVID-19 priorities
  • Globalize trial support given increasing demand in Asia and Europe.  

Research organizations around the world are deploying Simoa to combat COVID-19 and future pandemics with a full range of products, applications, and services including those listed below. In particular, Simoa’s extreme sensitivity and specificity is enabling researchers to measure cytokine levels and profiles in non-critical and critical COVID-19 patients as well as asymptomatic and symptomatic patients.  We are actively seeking partners to work with us to develop viral loading and host immune response assays for both symptomatic and pre-symptomatic patients.  Let us know if you have ideas, assays and/or key reagents that could be combined with Simoa’s ultra-sensitivity. 

Studying the Key Role of Inflammation in Disease Progression and Severity

  • Up-regulation and suppression of Type I and Type II interferons (IFNα, IFNγ) as early predictors of disease severity
  • Pro-inflammatory cytokines (GM-CSF, IL-2, IL-6, IL-10, IL-12p70, TNFα) for early detection of imbalanced Th1 and Th2 response and risk for severe cytokine release
  • Biomarkers of chronic airway inflammatory disease (IL-4, IL-5, IL-13)
  • Airway remodeling (MMP-9) in virus-induced chronic pulmonary disease

Characterizing Links between Viral Infection and Neurological Manifestations

  • The role of circulating and CNS levels of chemokines (Eoxtaxin, IP-10, MCP-1) in neuroinflammation
  • Multiplex measurement of serum and plasma-based biomarkers of neurodegeneration (NF-l, GFAP, UCH-L1, tau)
  • Detection of biomarkers from dried blood spots enables the use of remote sample collection protocols

Measuring the Earliest Biomarkers of Myocardial Injury and Risk of Acute and Chronic Cardiac Disease

  • Ultra-sensitive measurement of changes in baseline levels of cardiac troponin I (cTnI) for determining the risk of Acute Coronary Syndrome
  • Detection of natriuretic peptides (NT-proBNP) in monitoring chronic cardiac disease in COVID-19

Developing New Ultra-Sensitive Assays for Viral Detection and Host Response

  • Quanterix’ unique homebrew ultrasensitive assay development capabilities provide the flexibility for researchers to develop singleplex and multiplex custom Simoa assays
  • Viral protein detection with PCR-level sensitivity with the speed and convenience of immunoassays
  • Serological assays to for characterizing host immune response, surveillance and vaccine development
  • Direct detection of nucleic acids using Simoa homebrew assay reagents to enable measurement of pathogen DNA and host miRNA biomarker levels without extraction or amplification

Prioritized Access to CLIA-licensed Quanterix Accelerator Lab Services

We are devoting resources to harnessing our deep knowledge of infectious disease pathology and neurology, unique and highly sensitive assay capabilities, and CLIA-Licensed Accelerator Lab resources to commercialize fast-turnaround COVID-19 detection solutions. Our CLIA-licensed Accelerator Services uses our Simoa technology to support the research testing needs of our customers across a wide range of applications, biomarkers, assays and assay development that can be used to measure disease biology, pathology and patient response to therapies. We invite researchers whose in-house testing has been interrupted or who have emergent testing needs to contact us to learn how our services can help.

Business Continuity and Continued Support for Customers

We remain committed to supporting our constituencies in the face of this unprecedented crisis. With the virus continuing to spread, we cannot rule out future impact to our business but because we were able to rapidly implement safety measures and a comprehensive resilience plan, coupled with having a strong balance sheet, we are confident in supporting the needs of C0VID-19 researchers and having the financial strength to support our strategic pursuits.

As this situation unfolds over the next several months, we will proactively navigate the crisis to protect our employees and their families, while we optimize business operations for customers, collaborators, and investors. We remain positive and committed to the unprecedented opportunity before us in research markets and ultimately, clinical markets.

We strongly believe our technology and the Powering Precision Health network of industry experts that can help support the acceleration of essential infectious disease screening, therapeutics development, and disease understanding. We are actively seeking and developing collaborations to apply our ultra-sensitive biomarker detection technology in the global fight against COVID-19. We ask investigators around the world to please contact us if you have specific reagents or biological insights that can be shared. We must come together as a powerful community of experts to regain control over this disease. We plan to host a global webinar next week with top COVID-19 researchers from around the world to increase communications and collaborations using our Simoa technologies to battle the virus, please join us Thursday, April 2, 2020 at 10am E.T.


Kevin Hrusovsky
Chairman, CEO & President
Quanterix Corporation