Empower Clinics Inc (CSE:CBDT) (OTCQB:EPWCF) (FRA:8EC) announced Thursday that the COVID-19 PCR tests at its KAI Medical Laboratory in Dallas are able to accurately detect the UK and South African variants of the coronavirus.
The KAI Lab testing protocol tests for parts of the viral genome not impacted by mutations in the spike protein, which means that the active virus in a patient's RNA genetic sequence can be detected even in the new variants.
"The Kai Labs motto of ‘Inspire by science, built on integrity’ is displayed so accurately as the team of molecular scientists took it upon themselves to validate our test protocols against pervasive new COVID-19 variants." Empower CEO Steven McAuley said in a statement. "Leading with science, continuous improvement and a desire to impact healthcare outcomes elevate Kai Labs to a national and international stage. I expect this to be a competitive advantage as we endeavour to sign new global distribution and sales contracts."
The new coronavirus mutations are a significant concern, says World Health Organization (WHO) Chief Scientist Soumya Swaminathan.
"… scientists have now studied this and have found that these variants do tend to spread faster, they're more transmissible or more infectious,” Swaminathan said on the podcast Science in 5 back in January. “So that's the worrying part."
That increased risk of spread puts a premium on accurate testing and contact tracing.
"We know that testing, that identifying those who are infectious, that being able to provide them supportive isolation, tracking and contact tracing, and quarantining all the contacts,” Swaminathan said. “All of these things together definitely make a difference in bringing down transmission."
Earlier this month, Empower announced that it plans to triple the size of the KAI Lab in anticipation of growing testing volumes. The facility recently crossed the benchmark of processing 1,000 tests per day.
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