In many countries, the turnaround time for testing for Covid-19 is not fast enough. Much of the time gets lost in the transport, and too few labs comply with the standards for pathogenic samples.
A UK SME in collaboration with a regional university is now offering a new product to remove some bottlenecks. It provides a buffer that will inactivate viruses responsible for pandemics such as Covid-19 and seasonal influenza and epidemics such as SARS, MERS and Ebola.
This product has been developed to inactivate the pathogen in the transport tube containing a patient sample, to lyse cells and denature any virus in the sample, rendering the virus inactive and nonpathogenic. This results in a non-pathogenic sample for transport and testing. Samples do not need to be maintained at +4°C, removing the requirement for a cold chain in handling and thereby greatly reducing transport costs.
The throughput will increase as the requirement for Category 2+/3 handling of potentially pathogenic samples is reduced. Also, testing becomes easier. The product is widely compatible with current RNA extraction protocols and can be used without disruption to current processing protocols. Samples treated with it can also be used directly in standard RNA extraction protocols without the need to add further denaturing buffer in the first extraction step, thereby allowing samples to be added directly without dilution, making RNA extraction protocols more efficient and with higher sensitivity due to the increased volume purified.
This buffer acts as a stabiliser since the formulation will destroy the enzymes and proteins (including RNAses) which are responsible for the degradation of the RNA/DNA. The solution does not contain PCR (polymerase chain reaction) inhibitors.
The company is looking for public health authorities across the network countries to acquire the product, or vendors of related products to bundle this with other products, under commercial agreements with technical assistance. The UK company will provide the technical and safety literature for the product, and provide training.