European Inventor Award 2021, the Alumnus Marco Donolato among the finalists

Magnetic nanoparticles to diagnose diseases (including Covid19) in a few minutes: a revolutionary patent

Marco Donolato, Alumnus Physical Engineering, is the inventor of an innovative system able to detect infectious diseases, including Dengue fever, Zika and SARS-CoV-2 . The test requires only a drop of blood and produces accurate results in less than 10 minutes, allowing for prompt patient treatment.

Very easy to use, cheap, and requires very little training for medical personnel, making it particularly suitable for low-income and developing countries. It is one of the 3 finalist inventions in the "Research" category of the European Inventor Award 2021 , the European Patent Office's annual award to inventors who have made a significant contribution to innovation, the economy and society.

marco donolato

The device is called BluBox and was developed by BluSense Diagnostics, the start-up that Donolato co-founded with his colleague and Alumnus Filippo Bosco, in Denmark, in 2014.

It uses the Immuno-Magnetic Assay technology: a laser beam passes through a blood sample mixed with synthesized magnetic nanoparticles to bind to a biological target, for example antibodies to a virus; an optical reader detects the clustering dynamics of the nanoparticles and identifies the presence of the biological target. It is able to quantify the virus concentration in the patient's blood in about 10 minutes.

The start-up has recently developed a version of BluBox that allows detecting the presence of COVID-19 antibodies in 5-7 minutes . The test will be launched in the next few days in some Italian hospitals.

«The test kit - explained Donolato , interviewed by Sole 24 Ore - was created with the aim of being cheap, but fast and accurate and requires little training for medical personnel. The test for Covid-19 will be marketed by half May and sold to public hospitals and clinics in Europe ». "Marco Donolato and his team demonstrated how it is possible to combine different lines of research to provide solutions to some of the biggest global health problems - commented the President of the European Patent Office, António Campinos, announcing the finalists of the 2021 edition of the European Inventor Award - It could potentially have a very significant impact on the health of some of the world's most vulnerable people ».