A new point-of-care test for COVID-19 that generates a result in just over one hour without the need for laboratory processing is becoming available in the UK.
Developed by a team of scientists at DnaNudge led by Professor Christofer Toumazou, the RNA polymerase chain reaction test has received a formal go-ahead from the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA). It is now being deployed by Professor Toumazou and his team at the Accident & Emergency departments at both St Mary’s Hospital and Charing Cross Hospital in London, England.
The UK Department of Health and Social Care has obtained 10,000 of the testing cartridges for distribution to clinical sites. A representative from DnaNudge told EuroTimes that the test will be rolled out soon to other urgent care and home testing settings, including for use in maternity units and presurgical settings.
Dr Toumazou, CEO and co-founder of DnaNudge, is Regius Professor of Engineering and founder of the Institute of Biomedical engineering, Imperial College London. In a press release, Professor Toumazou notes that the test can be delivered at scale. He states, “We clearly believe it offers very significant potential in terms of mass population testing during the COVID-19 pandemic.”
David Spalton, MD, Consultant Ophthalmic Surgeon, St Thomas’ Hospital, London, commented: “This new test could be a real game-changer for screening patients prior to surgery.”
The COVID-19 test is done with a specimen collected using a single paediatric nasal swab. The swab is inserted directly into the DnaNudge cartridge that is then placed for processing into the company’s patented, miniaturised, portable NudgeBox analyser. DnaNudge is also looking into converting the technology for processing saliva samples.
The COVID-19 test was clinically validated in a small initial trial of patients with COVID-19. Further validation testing is underway.
DnaNudge is close to completing a CE mark registration. The company has a clinical derogation from MRHA for clinical diagnostics until CE approval.
The COVID-19 test is based on DnaNudge’s in-store DNA testing service, which was launched to consumers in November, 2019. The in-store DNA testing consumer service currently focuses on nutrition. It analyses and maps the user’s genetic profile to key nutrition-related health traits to guide individuals to make healthier food choices while shopping.
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