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Covid-19 test developed by Avacta and Adeptrix to be evaluated by government’s CONDOR programme

Avacta has begun working with the government’s CONDOR programme to validate a new Covid-19 diagnostic test it has developed with US-based Adeptrix.

16 November 2018..Avacta, Thorp Arch.. (35315769)
16 November 2018..Avacta, Thorp Arch.. (35315769)

The Whittlesford company says up to 1,000 patient swab or saliva samples a day could be analysed by a single technician using the assay, which runs on equipment already installed in most hospital microbiology labs but so far unused during the pandemic.

The high throughput Covid-19 bead-assisted mass spectrometry (BAMS) laboratory assay uses Avacta’s Affimer reagents to capture the virus and viral proteins from patient samples.

The power of mass spectrometry analysis then provides a highly sensitive and specific diagnostic test.

Through working with the Covid-19 National Diagnostic Research and Evaluation platform (CONDOR), Avacta will have immediate access to patient samples and collaborators in UK hospitals to evaluate the prototype BAMS assay and will shortly conduct the clinical validation study.

The company’s rapid saliva-based Covid-19 antigen test strip developed with Cytiva, will also be evaluated under the CONDOR programme, which was set up to evaluate new diagnostic tests in hospitals and community healthcare settings.

Dr Alastair Smith, chief executive of Avacta Group, said: “I am delighted that the Covid-19 BAMS assay that we are developing with Adeptrix has been accepted into the CONDOR programme. This provides us with access to patient samples and partners in UK hospitals to rapidly carry out the validation studies that are critical to progress the BAMS assay development.

“We are confident that the BAMS assay will perform very well and potentially provide a new gold standard for laboratory reference testing for the Covid-19 infection. The BAMS assay runs on equipment that is already installed in most hospital clinical microbiology labs but is currently unused for Covid-19 testing. Therefore, with the potential for a single technician to analyse up to 1,000 samples a day, the BAMS assay will provide a significant boost to centralised hospital testing capacity around the world.

“I am also very pleased that the CONDOR programme will support the clinical validation of the rapid saliva-based Covid-19 antigen test strip that we are developing with Cytiva.

“This, combined with other collaborations that we are putting in place, will provide us with access to a sufficient number of Covid-19 patient samples to allow us to quickly clinically validate the saliva rapid test.”

Avacta’s Affimer reagents are small alternatives to antibodies.

CONDOR has funding from the National Institute for Health Research, UK Research and Innovation, Asthma UK and the British Lung Foundation.

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