Avacta Group plc (AIM: AVCT), the developer of Affimer® biotherapeutics and reagents, is pleased to announce that it has begun work with the UK government’s CONDOR program to evaluate and clinically validate the high throughput COVID-19 bead-assisted mass spectrometry (“BAMS™”) laboratory assay developed with Adeptrix (Beverly, MA, USA).
The COVID-19 National Diagnostic Research and Evaluation Platform (CONDOR), recently funded by the National Institute for Health Research, UK Research and Innovation, Asthma UK and the British Lung Foundation, was created by the UK government to provide a route for evaluating new COVID-19 diagnostic tests in hospitals and in community healthcare settings.
Adeptrix’s novel BAMS platform uses Affimer reagents to capture the virus and viral proteins from patient samples and combines this with the power of mass-spectrometry analysis to provide a highly sensitive and specific diagnostic test. Up to 1,000 nasopharyngeal swab or saliva samples per day can be analysed by a single technician using the BAMS assay, making it a very attractive high throughput technique for COVID-19 screening in the clinical setting.
Through the collaboration with the CONDOR scheme, Avacta will be provided access to patient samples and collaborators in UK hospitals to evaluate the performance of the prototype BAMS assay and to conduct the clinical validation study.
The work with the CONDOR programme will commence immediately to evaluate the test performance using real patient samples and will quickly progress to full clinical validation.
I am delighted that the COVID-19 BAMS assay that we are developing with Adeptrix has been accepted into the CONDOR programme. This provides us with access to patient samples and partners in UK hospitals to rapidly carry out the validation studies that are critical to progress the BAMS assay development.
We are confident that the BAMS assay will perform very well and potentially provide a new gold standard for laboratory reference testing for the COVID-19 infection. The BAMS assay runs on equipment that is already installed in most hospital clinical microbiology labs but is currently unused for COVID-19 testing.
Therefore, with the potential for a single technician to analyse up to 1,000 samples a day, the BAMS assay will provide a significant boost to centralised hospital testing capacity around the world.
I am also very pleased that the CONDOR programme will support the clinical validation of the rapid saliva-based COVID-19 antigen test strip that we are developing with Cytiva. This, combined with other collaborations that we are putting in place, will provide us with access to a sufficient number of COVID-19 patient samples to allow us to quickly clinically validate the saliva rapid test.
I look forward to providing further updates in due course.”
Dr. Alastair Smith, Chief Executive of Avacta Group