Miriam for isothermal amplification reactions


Miriam is a simple, low-cost 96-well assay and detection instrument. It was originally designed for a high-sensitivity, isothermal miRNA detection assay (LAMP), but can in theory be used for other isothermal amplification assays as well. Recent work by Lamb et al and Yu et al demonstrate the viability of using RT-LAMP for SARS-CoV2 detection.

At Miroculus our Mission is to advance science and improve lives faster, together. Some of the early work at Miroculus focused on Ligation Assisted Loop-Mediated Isothermal Amplification (LA-LAMP) as a fast and inexpensive method when quantitative reverse transcription PCR (qRT-PCR) is limited or not available and the Miriam Instrument was born. We made the details of Miriam development open source in 2016 and shared via GitHub all of the information needed for anyone to build it, using readily available or easily manufactured parts.

As the novel SARS-CoV2 continues its spread around the world, much of the focus has been on how the challenge of scaling up and distributing reliable testing quickly has hampered public health efforts. A method that is inexpensive and can be performed anywhere is desirable for the track-and-trace approach required to slow the spread of this and other contagions. While facing the challenge of SARS-CoV2 we are doing what we can to help with the efforts by sharing again the details of Miriam for use with LAMP and updating information around costs to set up and produce. We recognize how complicated the world health situation is right now and understand this is not a silver bullet. But by sharing this information with others more widely we can continue toward our Vision to make the most complex protocols easy and accessible to scientists everywhere.

How it works

Miriam is an open-source instrument for isothermal amplification reactions. The assays Miriam was designed to execute are based on LAMP and ELISA protocols. Miriam is controlled with an Arduino Mega and the production costs per instrument are below 250USD and less if produced at higher scale.

Using readily accessible materials like wood, standard plastic 96-well plates, theatrical lighting parts, and pre-fabricated PCBs that can be purchased at scale, the costs are kept low while the focused function of RT-LAMP for SARS-CoV2 can be optimized using existing or future protocols.

Laser-cut wood or 3-D-printed plastic housing

Simple assembly

Fluorescent detection

The detection optics have been designed for calcein dye. The selected LED is an angle SMD led with peak wavelength 461nm. The photodiode is an RGB photodiode most sensitive to green light. The optics also include an emission filter utilized in theatrical lighting. The development and selection of components is further described in a Master’s thesis done from Miriam.

Easy connectivity and data sharing:

The internal WIFI chip makes it possible for Arduino Mega to be connected to a local WIFI and this way communicate autonomously to a web service. This ability to record and share results will allow for even better surveillance and support public health efforts.

Estimated Costs

Component Costs (each)
Upper heater7.75.451.435
Lower heater7.75.451.435
LED board15.913.689.35
Sensor board71.961.547.1
Arduino Mega$40.00$40.00$40.00
Structural materials (wood or 3D printed)$50.00$50.00$50.00
Subtotal Parts (each unit)$216.00$194.88$162.02
PCB Fab and Assembly Costs (each unit)
Upper heater1.651.61.5
Lower heater1.651.61.5
LED board1.651.61.5
Sensor board1.651.61.5
Subtotal Labor (each unit)
Subtotal NRE Contribution (each unit)$17.40$8.70$0.87
Total Cost/Unit$240.67$210.65$169.52


Email miriam@miroculus.com with questions or collaboration ideas

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