Academics at University College London (UCL) are working with Causaly to help accelerate various aspects of research into the current coronavirus pandemic, including identification of biomarkers and potential therapeutic agents. Causaly is a technology company that uses artificial intelligence (AI) techniques to read, understand and interpret vast databases of biomedical knowledge.
CytoSMART Technologies is to donate 100 mini live-cell imaging systems to researchers in high-containment laboratories worldwide. Those working to combat COVID-19 will benefit from this initiative, as CytoSMART aims to reduce the huge workload currently facing researchers on projects vital to controlling the disease.
To date, only disinfectants and sanitisers containing fifth-generation silane quaternary compounds (SiQuats) have been tested against the coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 (pictured), and results just released show that they ‘smash’ it, according the Dr Andrew Kemp.
Whole pathogen quality controls to support accurate coronavirus testing have been developed by scientists in the UK. The molecular controls, available from global diagnostics company Randox Laboratories, are currently being used as part of a nationwide testing programme for front-line NHS workers. Available under the brand name Qnostics, the new SARS-CoV-2 controls are manufactured using whole pathogens. Therefore, they mimic the patient sample, providing the best sample matrix for laboratories.
The COVID-19 Volunteer Testing Network has been launched to provide essential additional testing capacity to front-line workers. The project, started by Mike Fischer CBE, helps small laboratories convert to run critical antigen testing and identify COVID-19 cases among local healthcare workers – at no cost to government.
BIOHIT Healthcare is now distributing test kits for the diagnosis of current and past SARS-CoV-2 infections to help in the fight against coronavirus in the UK. The new product line includes the MutaPLEX Coronavirus kit from Immundiagnostik (IDK) – a real-time RT-PCR assay to screen for infected individuals – and Epitope Diagnostics (EDI) immunodiagnostic tests for IgM and IgG SARS-CoV-2 antibodies, to detect past infections.
Cancer informatics and digital pathology solution provider Inspirata has announced a free remote pathology initiative, available to healthcare institutions looking to provide flexibility to their staff during COVID-19. In an important boost to this campaign, Inspirata is now joined by two industry partners, Hamamatsu and KiKo, Knowledge in Knowledge out. Hamamatsu will provide its high-quality research use only (RUO) Whole Slide Image (WSI) scanner, NanoZoomer, to scan glass slides submitted by institutions for research and secondary consults, but will not be used for any primary human diagnosis.
Sense Biodetection has announced an accelerated programme to launch the world’s first instrument-free, point-of-care molecular diagnostic test for SARS-CoV-2, the coronavirus responsible for the COVID-19 pandemic. Sense is partnering closely with Phillips-Medisize to scale-up production of its test in order to meet the growing demand for rapid diagnostics.
A team of scientists and engineers from Cambridge, UK, and Ma’alot-Tarshiha, Israel, have developed a revolutionary new carbon-based material that captures and destroys an animal coronavirus, a close relative of the SARS-CoV-2 virus that causes COVID-19.
Sygnature Group is supporting the government’s COVID-19 testing strategy with the loan of a key piece of equipment. The machine, a Tecan Freedom EVO 100 (pictured), will be used to help automate and accelerate the analysis of samples at the first of the UK government’s new Lighthouse Labs in Milton Keynes.
Halix has joined a consortium of partners, under the guidance of the University of Oxford, to provide GMP manufacturing services supporting the large-scale production of a COVID-19 vaccine (ChAdOx1 nCoV-19), being developed by the university’s Jenner Institute. This GMP manufacturing scale-up is taking place alongside early-phase clinical trials. The trials are crucial in testing whether or not the vaccine is proven to be effective.
Horizon Discovery Group has announced special commercial licensing terms to facilitate rapid access to its cGMP-compliant CHOSOURCE platform for the development or production of therapeutic proteins, diagnostic assay components or vaccines relating to COVID-19.
Avacta, the developer of Affimer biotherapeutics and reagents, has entered into a collaboration with Cytiva (formerly GE Healthcare Life Sciences). The companies will develop and manufacture an Affimer-based point-of-care rapid (POC) test intended for screening large populations to diagnose SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus infection.
Stage UK has compiled a laboratory best practice guide to the management of COVID 19. It highlights studies showing how abnormal coagulation parameters such as D-dimer and the disseminated intravascular coagulation (DIC) score can indicate poor patient outcomes. One study shows that 71% of non-survivors had coagulopathy, compared with only 0.6% of survivors.
The likelihood of emerging viruses spreading to humans from animals may not depend on the specific animal reservoir of the original virus. As in the case of the current pandemic caused by the coronavirus SARS-CoV-2, which is thought to have originated in bats, most emerging infectious diseases are zoonotic viruses – diseases that spread from animals to infect humans. As the impact of COVID-19 shows, emerging infectious diseases can seriously threaten human lives and livelihoods globally. Therefore, understanding which groups of animals or viruses pose the greatest risk is important for combating new threats.
As the COVID-19 pandemic progresses in countries around the globe, there is an urgent need for rapid and reliable point-of-need detection testing. Dolomite Microfluidics and Mologic are working together to accelerate the development and launch of these tests.
The precision diagnostics company BillionToOne has announced a significant development in the struggle against the coronavirus pandemic. BillionToOne has developed a highly accurate and cost-effective COVID-19 test protocol, unlocking more than one million testing capacity per day in the USA alone. Test reagents will be available in two weeks, pending kit manufacture and regulatory approval.
Cytel has launched an open-access global COVID-19 Clinical Trial Tracker to help facilitate greater collaboration between researchers, policy-makers, clinicians, journalists, philanthropists, and other critical stakeholders who need to understand the complex dynamics of the global response to finding a solution to the current coronavirus pandemic. This will enable them to make more-informed and pragmatic decisions on how to channel scarce resources.
Aspect Scientific specialises in enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) automation systems and offers a range of instrumentation from Dynex Technologies capable of automating any level of workload quickly and easily.
Matt Hancock, the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, claims that this country, unlike Germany, does not have the scale to undertake the testing required in the current coronavirus pandemic, and Public Health England (PHE) is being criticised for its lack of testing capacity. Here, Dr Valerie Bevan (Chair, British Society for Microbial Technology) attempts to put the situation in historical context, in light of her recent correspondence to The Guardian, and letters to The Daily Telegraph from Professor Brian Duerden (last Director of the PHLS) and retired biomedical scientist Michael Coles.