Mohammed VI Polytechnic University

Smart Spectra advances to the finals of the XPRIZE Rapid Covid Testing Competition

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Smart Spectra advances to the finals of the XPRIZE Rapid Covid Testing Competition





XPRIZE Rapid COVID Testing announced that the technology developed by the team «Smart Spectra» is part of the 10 teams in the Open Innovation Track. COVID19 continues to hit our most vulnerable communities! Current tests are expensive, slow, and invasive. For society to safely reopen, better testing options are needed. This global competition, which registered over 700 entrants from all over the World, aims to bring easy, rapid, cheap and frequent testing solutions to fight the pandemic.


The technology brought by Smart Spectra is based on spectral analysis performed through state-of-the-art machine learning algorithms. This revolutionary technology brings testing time to few minutes vs. several hours for PCR tests with no use of reagents, which is a key bottleneck in many regions, especially in developing countries relying on reagents imports to feed PCR machines. Bringing testing time to a few minutes without use of reagents could enable massive testing such as testing all students frequently in schools, employees at workplace, screening passengers before they board a plane or even all supporters entering a stadium. This technology could be further developed to diagnose other pathogens and shows a great potential of development including in developing countries.


Building this technology is a multidisciplinary effort involving Photonics, Microbiology, Chemistry and Machine Learning. Smart Spectra Team gathers a global team; Nawfel Azami (INPT, Rabat, Morocco)1, Rachid Benhida (UM6P2, Morocco/ UCA4 and CNRS5, France), Dimitris Bertsimas (MIT, Cambridge MA, USA), Jamal Fekkak (Anoual Laboratory, Casablanca, Morocco), Driss Lahlou Kitane (MIT, Cambridge MA, USA)6, Salma Loukman and Nabila Marchoudi (Anoual Laboratory, Casablanca, Morocco).



“We look forward to testing these innovative solutions from our finalists in the field and seeing firsthand the positive impact they will have on humanity so we all can more safely return to everyday activities,” said Anousheh Ansari, CEO of XPRIZE. “We are encouraged by rapid tests hitting the market already and know demand will continue for technology that utilizes alternative resources – which will allow for more frequent and faster results for everyone.”


1 INPT : Institut National des Postes et Télécommunications, Rabat, Morocco.

2 UM6P: Mohammed VI Polytechnic University, Morocco.

3 Anoual Laboratory, Casablanca Morocco

4 UCA : Université Côte d’Azur, Nice, France.

5 CNRS : Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, France.

6 MIT : Massachussetts Institute of Technology, Operations Research Center, Cambridge, USA.

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