From making a pregnancy test to measuring stress levels, the practical sessions at the Lateral Flow Workshop 2020 offer a unique hands-on learning opportunity
Every year the BioDot Lateral Flow Workshop gives attendees the unique opportunity to build a fully working lateral flow test from scratch using BioDot’s industry-leading machinery.
This year the practical sessions will be delivered by Soma Bioscience, a UK-based company that specializes in real-time saliva-based analytics using lateral flow technologyIn this blog, Soma’s managing director Joe Dunbar explains why the sessions are an invaluable learning experience, especially for attendees who are new to lateral flow diagnostics.
You can look at every diagram and drawing of a lateral flow device, and watch every video about how they are made, but there’s no substitute for physically handling the materials and understanding how they work together.
That’s why the practical sessions at the Lateral Flow Workshop are so useful for attendees – they offer first-hand experience and insight of the lateral flow development process utilizing the same materials and equipment used by professional test developers and manufacturers across the world. While the physical, tactile experience is an important element of the sessions, they also give attendees an appreciation of how easy it can be to construct a test if you have the right materials and equipment.
The sessions also offer the chance to interact with experienced members of staff as well as the other attendees taking part. Being able to ask questions and share experiences of the technology, both good and bad, in this way, is invaluable.
For example: What governs the choice of materials? What is the best material for conjugate pads? What are the best size gold particles to use? Working in small groups in an interactive workshop facilitates these sorts of discussions in a way you won’t get in the speaker sessions of the event.
This year there are two elements to the Lateral Flow Workshop practical sessions. The first is the test that everyone’s going to be making, the standard semi-quantitative lateral flow assay to test for the pregnancy hormone hCG. But for 2020, we are also introducing a new element, giving attendees the experience of using a fully quantitative cortisol test in conjunction with Chembio’s Cube reader system.
Most lateral flow tests are yes or no – pregnancy, drug tests, disease markers – there aren’t many that are quantitative, that would say how much of a substance is present in your blood or saliva, for example. Through this demonstration, attendees will gain an appreciation of how, if you have a good working lateral flow test and reader, you can quickly gain accurate, quantitative values in the field in real-time.
Cortisol is a hormone present in saliva that acts as a biological marker of stress. People think stress is a very binary thing that you are either stressed or not. To some extent, that’s true, but cortisol has a dynamic diurnal rhythm – it’s normally high first thing in the morning and drops down during the rest of the day into the afternoon and evening.
Because of that, we can construct individual cortisol profiles, and we currently have data from 500 people using our tests. During the workshop, we will collect saliva samples from attendees over a couple of days to construct cortisol profiles and then compare these with our data to get an idea of how their profiles compare.
We’re looking forward to introducing this exciting new element to the practical sessions of the Lateral Flow Workshop, which we hope will help give attendees a deeper understanding of the wide potential applications of lateral flow technology. We hope to see you in Amsterdam.
The Lateral Flow Workshop 2020 will take place at the Van Der Valk Hotel Amsterdam – Amstel from May 18-20. For more information and to register for the event, visit: https://biodot.regfox.com/lateral-flow-workshop-2020