Novacyt launches novel coronavirus test

The Primerdesign coronavirus test has the ability to detect only the 2019 strain of the virus

Novacyt’s molecular diagnostics division, Primerdesign, has launched a new molecular test for novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV). As announced on 28 January, the research use only (RUO) test has been developed as a direct response to the recent outbreak of the respiratory virus in China.

The Primerdesign coronavirus test has the ability to detect only the 2019 strain of the virus, which the company believes differentiates it from other current tests which are less specific and may also react to other related species giving rise to a false diagnosis.

The Primerdesign test is also stable at ambient temperatures, which eliminates the need for cold chain shipping in tropical climates and therefore improves the efficiency of the test and reduces transport costs.

On 7 January 2020, the Chinese authorities identified a new strain of the coronavirus named 2019-nCoV that had not been previously identified in humans. The outbreak started in the Chinese city of Wuhan, and already thousands of people have been confirmed infected and 170 have died as of 28 January 2020 (This number has now risen to over 200). More people have now been infected in China than during the severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) outbreak in the early 2000s.

On 30 January 2020, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the 2019-nCoV outbreak a global emergency as it continues to spread outside of China.

The test

The test has been designed to run on multiple molecular testing platforms, including Primerdesign’s own genesig q16 and q32 instrument, and therefore can be used in large and small laboratories as well as remotely where necessary. The test can generate a result in less than two hours meaning that all samples can be screened quickly which could help stop the unnecessary spread of this virus.

Graham Mullis, CEO of Novacyt said: “Over the last few days, we have seen significant early demand for our genesig 2019-nCoV test from over 10 countries. We believe our assay is the first European test to be made available and will be introduced this weekend at the Medlab Expo in the Middle East. Our rapid response to this latest virus outbreak is a testament to our core competency of in-vitro diagnostic design, development, manufacturing and commercialisation. I am immensely proud of the Primerdesign team which has been able to offer this rapid response for our customers who need fast and reliable diagnostic solutions in times such as these.”

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