Advantest's nanoSCOUTER™ Fine Particle Measurement Instrument Identifies Covid-19 With High Accuracy

2020/10/28 Topics

Company Donated 2 Units to Osaka University for Covid-19 Test Research

TOKYO, Japan – October 28, 2020 – Leading semiconductor test equipment supplier Advantest Corporation (TSE: 6857) has confirmed that the company's nanoSCOUTER™ fine particle measurement instrument is effective for rapidly identifying Covid-19 virus particles. The results of this research were announced on October 23 by Professor Masateru Taniguchi of the Institute of Scientific and Industrial Research at Osaka University. *1

WEL1100 nanoSCOUTER™ Nano-Order Particle Measurement Instrument

The Institute is researching virus identification methods with the AI-based particle identification system developed by Advantest and Aipore Inc*2, which relies on the nanoSCOUTER™'s measurement capabilities and Aipore's machine learning functionality. In a study of a Covid-19 test method using saliva samples, per-sample measurement time was 5 minutes, sensitivity (the ability of the test to correctly identify positive samples) was 95%, and specificity (the ability of the test to correctly identify negative samples) was 92%*3. This confirms that highly precise identification is possible within a short time.

The nanoSCOUTER™ is a lightweight, desktop-sized fine particle measurement instrument that utilizes a precise nanopore (nanometer-scale pore) sensor module made with semiconductor manufacturing processes and Advantest's proprietary microcurrent measurement technology. It measures the quantity and particle size of fine particles on the order of 100 nanometers, such as viruses, exosomes*4, and liposomes*5, with great speed and accuracy. In addition, when the nanoSCOUTER™ is used in conjunction with Aipore Inc.'s AI-based particle identification system, it is possible to quickly identify the type of particles detected. At the present time, the product is a scientific instrument, not an approved medical device.

Identifying Covid-19 virus particles within a short time is expected to be an important measure for early detection of infections and suppression of the pandemic. In recognition of the urgency of this issue, Advantest has donated two nanoSCOUTER™ instruments to the Institute of Scientific and Industrial Research at Osaka University to assist with their research into testing methods. Based on Advantest's corporate philosophy of "enabling leading-edge technologies," the company will strive to further develop this technology so that the nanoSCOUTER™ can play a role at the forefront of this important research.

*1 "Industry-on-Campus: Creation of a new industry originating from the Institute of Scientific and Industrial Research at Osaka University."
*2 Aipore Inc. was established in 2018 as a result of the Japanese Cabinet Office's national project "Impulsing Paradigm Change through Disruptive Technologies Program (ImPACT)". Using Advantest's nanoSCOUTER™, Aipore has developed a solution for AI analysis of measurement data of bioparticles such as viruses and bacteria.
*3 AMED (the Japan Agency for Medical Research and Development) subsidized this research as a part of its Reiwa 2 virus infection prevention technology development project "Research on COVID-19 test methods using nanopore technology and machine learning."
*4 Exosomes:Nano-order particles secreted from cells that contain any of various biomolecules, such as proteins or nucleic acids. Exosomes hold promise as diagnostic tools in medicine.
*5 Liposomes:Closed, spherical lipid bilayers, often used as vehicles for pharmaceuticals.

Note: All information supplied in this release is correct at the time of publication, but may be subject to change.