Cheap and Effective, NanoMag PrintG Unpad is the Magnetic Beads Solution for Covid-19 PCR Test

Reported by Arif Maulana

NanoMag PrintG

[unpad.ac.id, 30/6/2020] Universitas Padjadjaran developed an innovation of nano magnet effectively used to increase the sensitivity of the RNA extraction process in Covid-19 PCR testing. This innovation called “NanoMag PrintG” can be an alternative to commercial magnetic beads, so there is no need to import and the price can be much cheaper.

This innovation was developed by researchers from the Unpad Center for Nanotechnology and Graphene Research (PrintG) in collaboration with the Center for Clinical Infection Study at the Faculty of Medicine, Universitas Padjadjaran, and the Microbiology Laboratory and Unpad Molecular Biology Laboratory.

PrintG Unpad Researcher, Prof. Dr. Camellia Panatarani, M.Sc., explained that NanoMag PrintG has a smaller size than commercial magnetic beads. However, in terms of effectiveness, NanoMag has good nucleic acid binding ability.

“Nano is more effective, with a small size it can bind RNA,” Prof. Camellia said.

NanoMag PrintG was developed from magnetic materials that can be found in Indonesia. Therefore, this innovation purely uses original Indonesian products. This is what makes NanoMag prices can be half cheaper than commercial beads products on the market which are incidentally imported.

The difference of this NanoMag PrintG with commercial beads magnetic products is on the surface modification. This Professor from the Faculty of Mathematics and Sciences of Unpad explained that as a magnetic product, NanoMag PrintG will draw various objects when the RNA extraction process is carried out.

Through surface modification, NanoMag will be more sensitive for binding to RNA nucleic acids, so that RNA will not be carried along with other objects during the mechanical washing process by its magnetic materials.

“We have surface modification sophisticated,” Prof. Camellia said.

The NanoMag PrintG product has been tested at the BSL-2 Laboratory at the Unpad Teaching Hospital. The result is that NanoMag with a low level of concentration has the effectiveness equivalent to commercial magnetic with a high level of concentration.

Another Unpad PrintG researcher, also a Professor from  the Faculty of Mathematics and Sciences of Unpad, Prof. Dr. I Made Joni, M.Sc., explained that  a small use of NanoMag has the same effectiveness with a multiple use of commercial magnetic. For example, 20 microliters of NanoMag can draw the same RNA as 300 microliters of commercial beads.

“Especially if the levels are equated to 300 microliters, it will certainly be much more withdrawn,” he added.

The idea of developing this innovation started from the inhibition of the Covid-19 PCR extraction process due to the limitations of magnetic beads. Especially now, the demand for magnetic beads is quite high considering that the Covid-19 pandemic is attacking almost all countries in the world.

As an institution that took part in the Covid-19 extraction test, a number of testing laboratories at Universitas Padjadjaran  also had difficulties in fulfilling these magnetic beads. Therefore, PrintG Unpad tries to produce beads products made from local materials.

“There is a need for magnetic beads and we study the needs. As we are experts in that field, we make them. But we make something new, the size is reduced and we differentiate the surface modification, ” Prof. Made said.

NanoMag PrintG is not only used for the Covid-19 RNA extraction process but also for other RNA extraction processes. In fact, this product can also be used for extraction processes in other scientific fields.

“The key is surface modification,” Prof. Made said.

Currently, NanoMag PrintG products are ready for mass production. However, the process must first obtain a production permit from the Ministry of Health. (dkd)*