XPhyto Therapeutics Corp (CSE:XPHY) (FSE:4XT) (OTCPINK:XPHYF) said Monday that its diagnostic partner, 3a-Diagnostics GmbH, has confirmed the successful working of its novel COVID-19 RNA probes and its universal coronavirus RNA probes in a prototype of a lateral flow assay (LFA) test.
Prototype testing was carried out at 3a’s lab in Baden-Württemberg, Germany. Vancouver-based XPhyto said that “visual confirmation of the test results” with probe activation was observed in “five to seven minutes.”
XPhyto and 3a are working to develop a low-cost oral screening test to concurrently detect COVID-19 and non-COVID-19 coronaviruses.
3a is focused on detecting viruses during the early stages when patients are highly contagious and often asymptomatic.
The LFA test is designed for saliva samples and is also expected to function effectively using test solutions from throat and nasal swabs.
Prototype testing has confirmed successful activation of both the “COVID-19 specific probes” and the “universal coronavirus probes at viral RNA levels,” the company noted.
“We believe that a low-cost, portable and easy to use screening tool that provides rapid on-the-spot results would be a disruptive tool in the fight against pandemic threats,” XPhyto Therapeutics CEO Hugh Rogers said in a statement.
“We see an enormous global market opportunity that includes individual households, schools, hospitals, public transportation, airports and border services as well as many private employers,” he added.
3a has designed and tested RNA-probes to detect specific viral RNA sequences and provide immediate visual confirmation of the reaction in a prototype LFA screening device. Coronaviruses, like many disease-causing viruses, encode their genome using RNA (not DNA). Two viral RNA probes have been developed: a COVID-19 specific RNA sequence, and a universal coronavirus RNA sequence (shared by all known members of the coronavirus family).
In keeping with the test design, patients infected with COVID-19 are expected to activate the COVID-19 probes and the universal coronavirus probes. On the other hand, patients infected with an alternate coronavirus strain or a highly mutated form of COVID-19 are expected to activate only the universal coronavirus probes.
The company said the “next milestones” are the manufacture of LFA screening tests for use in clinical evaluation, followed by “a pilot study using human saliva from healthy and COVID-19 infected patients.” 3a expects to begin the pilot study within 30 to 60 days.
Contact the author Uttara Choudhury at [email protected]
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