The FDA issued a June 10 warning letter to Innova Medical Group Inc. in connection with the company’s rapid antigen tests for the SARS-CoV-2 virus, an action that accompanies a class I recall and a safety communication.
If the SARS-CoV-2 virus has achieved anything useful in the world of in vitro diagnostics, it’s that the associated pandemic has shone a bright and unsparing light on the respective merits of diagnostic and surveillance testing. Harvard University’s Michael Mina, an assistant professor of epidemiology, was one of several academic researchers who took up the gauntlet yet again in opposition to what they characterized as a gross misunderstanding of the respective roles of these types of tests, a misunderstanding they said must be addressed if the pandemic is to be corralled.
LONDON – The U.K. has launched a nationwide free testing program to diagnose COVID-19 in people who are asymptomatic, in the latest attempt to stem the tide of infection. Through the program, all local authorities will provide rapid testing using lateral flow devices. In addition, companies will be provided with free tests to set up workplace screening. Initially, the focus of both strands will be on getting people who cannot work from home to come forward for regular checks.
LONDON – A huge row has broken out in the U.K. about the accuracy and utility of COVID-19 lateral flow tests (LFT) in screening asymptomatic people, as a pilot field study indicated sensitivity is less than 40%, and a nationwide roll out already is in train. At present 116 areas of the country are due to implement community testing from next month, health care workers are due to be handed personal LFT supplies to test themselves twice a week, and the government is about to mandate use of the tests in schools after Christmas.
TORONTO – The Fionet Rapid Response Group formed by Toronto’s Fio Corp. and Relay Medical Corp. has received COVID-19 lateral flow rapid diagnostic tests (RDTs) from the European division of Abbott Laboratories Inc., Switzerland’s Roche Diagnostics AG and North York, Ontario’s Proprietary Innovation Labs Inc. for operation with its mobile testing and tracking platform.
LONDON – Three large scale population surveys conducted between late June and the end of September have shown the prevalence of SARS-CoV-2 antibodies in England declined by 26.5% over three months. The findings rest on the results of more than 350,000 self-administered lateral flow blood tests that were carried out at home by volunteers who were randomly selected from general practitioner registers.
LONDON – A large scale population study has shown that home self-testing with low-cost lateral flow diagnostics is a valid way of tracking the COVID-19 pandemic. A total of 105,651 people across the U.K. tested themselves for SARS-CoV-2 antibodies with a fingerprick blood test as part of the REACT (REaltime Assessment of Community Transmission) study.
LONDON – Lateral flow diagnostics specialist Mologic Ltd. has teamed up with Biosure Ltd., manufacturer of the only CE approved HIV home testing kit, to produce a COVID-19 antibody self-test. The companies are combining Mologic’s validated IgG antibody lateral flow strip with Biosure’s test kit, and say the product will be ready for mass production at the beginning of June.
The challenges to deploy diagnostic and surveillance testing for the COVID-19 pandemic will persist at least until a vaccine is ready if not well beyond that milestone. The state of COVID-19 testing as a regulated sector is a complex intersection of new and old technologies, questionable accuracy, availability hurdles, supply chain interruptions and problems with interpretation of results.
Researchers in Guangzhou, China, have developed a nanoparticle-based lateral flow immunoassay that quickly and accurately detects antibodies to the SARS-CoV-2 virus that causes COVID-19. The current test, which works in a similar manner to a pregnancy test, detects IgG antibodies in blood in less than 10 minutes. A proof-of-concept study appeared in Analytical Chemistry this week.