Avacta, Integumen collaborate for detection of SARS-COV-2 in waste water

Avacta Group, the developer of Affimer biotherapeutics and reagents, has entered into a collaboration with Integumen to evaluate recently generated Affimer reagents that bind the SARS-COV-2 spike protein for the detection of the coronavirus in waste water, to provide a real-time alert system to warn of localised COVID-19 outbreaks.

Over 60 percent of COVID-19 positive patients had gastrointestinal symptoms, such as diarrhoea, nausea and vomiting, and the SARS-COV-2 virus was found in their faecal samples. Sampling waste water from households may therefore provide an early warning system for localised outbreaks in communities.

Recently, Avacta announced that it had generated a number of highly specific Affimer reagents that detect the SARS-COV-2 virus spike protein for use in diagnostic tests and in neutralising therapies.

The collaboration with Integumen, announced 13 July, aims to evaluate some of these Affimer reagents in next-generation sensors, based on the real-time bacteria detection and alert system1 developed by Rinocloud, a subsidiary of Integumen, with the aim of integrating these sensors into Modern Water’s Microtox water contamination system to detect the coronavirus. The award-winning Microtox system, which can detect the presence of contaminating bacteria, virus and toxins, is distributed by Modern Water and has a global footprint of over 3,000 installations. The proposed Affimer sensors would be consumable items to be replaced on a roughly monthly basis.

Once initial testing of the Affimer reagents is completed over the next few weeks, validation of the sensors will be carried out using SARS-COV-2 virus samples in a containment level 3 laboratory at the University of Aberdeen. Upon successful completion of this evaluation, Integumen and Avacta will enter into a supply agreement to allow Integumen to manufacture and commercialise the waste water detection sensors globally by retrofitting into Microtox systems.