Diagnostics-COVID-19: UK Biotech Firm Avacta Launches Laboratory SARS-CoV-2 ELISA Test
: UK based biotech firm Avacta Group plc ,the developer of Affimer® biotherapeutics and reagents has announced the launch of an ultra-sensitive ELISA laboratory test for the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein to support global research efforts into the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus that causes COVID-19.
Dr Alastair Smith, Avacta’s chief executive
ELISAS or enzyme linked immunosorbent assays are very common research tools used to detect and quantify a target of interest in a wide range of samples.
Utilizing the same Affimer reagents that are incorporated into its rapid coronavirus saliva test that is being developed in collaboration with Cytiva (formerly GE Healthcare Life Sciences), Avacta has developed in-house a high performance ELISA laboratory test to detect the SARS-CoV-2 virus.
The biotech firm will make the ELISA test available as a kit so that researchers and laboratories globally can use it in their own facilities to support research into the coronavirus.
The ultra-sensitive Affimer-based ELISA test is capable of detecting the coronavirus spike protein in laboratory samples down to very low concentrations.
A detailed study cum evaluation of the ELISA carried out with the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine using SARS-CoV-2 virus samples shows that it can detect as little as a few thousand virus infectious units per millilitre of sample.
Such amounts are typical of the levels found in infectious COVID-19 patients’ saliva whether they are symptomatic or not.
It is known that highly infectious COVID-19 patients can have many thousands or millions of times more spike protein in their saliva than this.
Significantly, the Affimer-based ELISA test is also highly specific to the SARS-CoV-2 virus with no cross-reactivity against other closely related coronavirus spike proteins.
The biotech company plans to supply the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein ELISA reagent kit directly and is also in active discussions with potential OEM partners and distributors globally including in the United States, Canada, India, South America and Vietnam.
Chief Executive Officer of Avacta Group, Dr Alastair Smith, told Thailand Medical News, “We are delighted with the outstanding performance of the Affimer-based ELISA test developed in-house by Avacta and that we will shortly make this powerful laboratory research tool available to support global research efforts to study the virus and develop ways to combat the pandemic.”
He further added, “Avacta remains focused on the much larger opportunity of the saliva-based coronavirus antigen rapid test that we are developing with Cytiva and which is now in the process of technology transfer to
our manufacturing partners. The excellent analytical performance of the ELISA test is very encouraging with regards to the anticipated clinical performance of the rapid test and I look forward to starting the clinical validation with the first pilot batch of rapid tests as soon as possible.”
The company is working with an American based company that will be able to fast track US FDA approval so that the SARS-CoV-2 ELISA test will be available for use in the United States as soon as possible.
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