NEW YORK, Jan. 13, 2021 /PRNewswire/ — As the most at-risk people begin to receive COVID-19 vaccinations, we are all looking forward to a post-pandemic world. As we transition back to something closer to normal life, however, the importance of rapid detection of any pathogen that could be hazardous to human health will not be forgotten any time soon. This crisis spurred the development of virus and pathogen technologies that are not only invaluable for rapid detection and response to pandemic viruses but also for everyday use in the medical and food safety spaces and elsewhere. Developed by companies like Lexagene Hldgs Inc. (TSX-V: LXG) (OTC: LXXGF) (FRA:5XS2), Medmira Inc. (TSX-V: MIR) (OTC: MMIRF), Co-Diagnostics Inc. (NASDAQ:CODX), 3M Co. (NYSE: MMM), and Laboratories (NYSE: ABT), these technologies could continue to be game-changing in the post-pandemic world and possibly even help prevent future health crises.
LexaGene’s MiQLab Makes Testing Quick and Simple
Massachusetts-based molecular diagnostics company Lexagene Hldgs Inc. (TSX-V: LXG) (OTCQB: LXXGF) (FRA:5XS2) has developed a fully automated system that makes the process of detecting pathogens quick and remarkably simple at the point-of-need where samples are collected. The technology can be used to detect viruses like COVID-19 or others, or for other purposes such as lab testing for food safety, veterinary diagnostics, and more. The company’s founder and CEO Dr. Jack Regan developed the precursor to this technology while working for the Department of Homeland Security at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory and LexaGene holds the exclusive license to sell the commercial version.
LexaGene is calling its flagship product the MiQLab automated pathogen detection system, and the company says that the system could transform the way both human clinical diagnostics and veterinary diagnostics are conducted. The system uses multiplex testing to detect up to 27 targets at once. MiQLab is the first commercially available open-access multiplex PCR system of its kind, allowing users to receive lab-quality test results in approximately an hour at the point-of-need, without having to send samples away for testing. The system is designed for ease of use, allowing for operation by non-technical users with relatively little training required.
MiQLab is designed for versatility. The system is ideal for use in a range of industries and tests can be onboarded quickly, allowing it to test for new pathogens as they emerge. This means that in addition to having a wide range of everyday uses, MiQLab is set up to be critical during this pandemic as new COVID variants appear, such as those identified in the United Kingdom (B.1.1.7) and South Africa (B.1.351), and in the event of any new health crises that may occur in the future.
On December 30th, LexaGene announced that the company has begun a series of studies required by the FDA for Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) testing for its COVID-19 assay in a point-of-care (POC) environment using the MiQLab system. This development is notable because the majority of other testing systems that have been submitted for this designation can only be used by highly trained personnel, whereas MiQLab, with its simple usability, would allow for far faster and more accessible testing.
“I’m excited we have progressed to the point where we have started our FDA study,” Dr. Regan said in the company’s release. “Our open-access technology is unlike any other on the market today, as it could be configured quickly to detect new variants, such as the recent UK variant (aka SARS-CoV-2 VUI 202012/01).”
Biotech Companies Look to Develop Rapid Testing Methods
Co-Diagnostics Inc. (NASDAQ: CODX) has developed the Logix Smart COVID-19 test kit. The test uses a single step real-time reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction process in lower and upper respiratory tract fluids to detect the ribonucleic acid from the form SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus in patients who meet the clinical criteria for COVID-19.
3M Co. (NYSE: MMM) has been in the spotlight since the start of the pandemic for several of its medical and personal protective equipment products. In July, the company announced that it was working with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology to create an antigen test for COVID-19. The company’s priority was to improve the speed, accessibility, and affordability of testing for the virus.
On December 30th, Canadian biotechnology company Medmira Inc. (TSXV: MIR) (OTC:MMIRF) unveiled an improved version of the company’s REVEALCOVID-19 Total Antibody Test that Medmira claims accurately detects antibodies against both the Nucleocapsid and Spike regions of the SARS-CoV-2 virus. This test confirms the effectiveness of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines in vaccinated individuals.
In the early months of the pandemic, Abbott Labs (NYSE: ABT) was one of the first companies to develop specialized testing for COVID-19 and receive emergency use authorization from the FDA. Today, the company markets several COVID tests, including its BinaxNOW rapid point-of-care test.
While it’s tempting to look ahead to a world where COVID-19 is no longer a concern, the need for rapid testing is not going away anytime soon. This is ensuring near-term demand for products like LexaGene’s MiQLab, and the system’s many other applications will likely keep that demand going long after the crisis.
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