The University of Winnipeg



H1N1 Bug Found on Chip

WINNIPEG, MB – A University of Winnipeg team from Applied Computer Science consisting of Faculty member Simon Liao and Adjunct Professor Michael Zhang, with Bin Huang and Francis Lin, earned the cash prize of $5,000 for the White Board Challenge on the eve of Wednesday, November 19. The Information and Communication Technologies Association of Manitoba (ICTAM) and Biomedical Commercialization Canada Inc. (BCC) sponsored this event.

The winning team created a non-intrusive technique that tests and validates influenza by non-medical personnel using a biochip technology they developed. The biochip technology is based on the concept of microfluidics making it essentially the equivalent of a Lab on a Chip. They are developing the prototype that will take 4 to 6 months to complete.

“In order to prevent a global disaster, early detection is the best choice,” explained Michael Zhang. “This chip can help identify and treat infected persons quickly at low-cost, with easy-to-use handheld units that decentralize testing of flu-type epidemics.”

This innovative lab on a chip can obtain quick results in one hour at a cost of $10 per test compared to current testing which can take from 1 – 5 days and can cost $200 – $400 per test.

The cost for testing influenza bugs like H1N1 in Manitoba is around $10 – $20 million per year. This new chip can save substantial health-care dollars and time. There is also tremendous potential to sell this technology aboard creating a global market, and the UWinnipeg team is open to taking the next steps with investors to create a viable product.

Fifty of Winnipeg’s business and technology leaders were at the White Board Challenge. The format was similar to the CBC’s Dragon Den’s model. Each participant had 8 minutes to pitch their product with a couple of minutes of questions and answers from the panel of judges who included: Ken Bicknell, Marc Caron, Bill Chalmers, and Nik Rokop.

Media Contact