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Reagents for Potential Covid-19 Test Developed Ahead of Scedule
Apr 29 2020 Read 1617 Times
Biotherapeutics and reagents provider Avacta Group, has successfully generated multiple Affimer® reagents that bind the SARS-COV-2 viral antigen as part of its collaboration with Cytiva (formerly GE Healthcare Life Sciences). This has been achieved four weeks ahead of schedule for the planned development of a rapid test for the COVID-19 coronavirus infection.
The highly specific reagents, that were reported to have no cross-reaction with other very closely related viruses, such as SARS and MERS, will be characterised by Avacta with the aim of developing a laboratory test for the SARS-COV-2 virus antigen within the next few weeks. These Affimer binders will also be transferred to Cytiva shortly for implementation in a point-of-care test strip, similar in appearance to a pregnancy test, giving a visual read-out in minutes using a sample such as saliva.
Avacta owns the intellectual property relating to the SARS-COV-2 Affimer reagents and retains all commercial rights. Avacta is in active discussion with other global diagnostic companies to develop Affimer-based COVID-19 antigen tests to increase high-throughput testing capacity on a world-wide scale.
Dr Alastair Smith, Chief Executive Officer of Avacta Group, commented: “The speed with which highly specific Affimer reagents can be generated is just one of the many significant advantages of the technology. I would like to publicly thank Avacta colleagues who have worked long hours and weekends to make astounding progress and generate Affimer reagents against a novel virus in only four weeks and well ahead of schedule.
“The need for rapid antigen tests to diagnose COVID-19 infection that can be mass produced for professional screening of large populations and for self-testing by consumers themselves, is crucial to limiting and tracking the spread of this disease. Antigen testing will also be critical to lockdown exit strategies around the world in order to get healthy, non-contagious people back to work to re-boot economies and there will be an ongoing need for several years for antigen testing as the disease recurs.
Klaus Hochleitner, Global Lead, Technology Product Specialist at Cytiva, commented:
“I am delighted and impressed with the rapid progress made by our partners at Avacta and look forward to receiving Affimer reagents to implement in a lateral flow test on our platform as soon as possible.”
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