Avacta ships SARS-COV-2 Affimer reagents to Cytiva and Adeptrix for diagnostic test development

Avacta Group plc, the developer of Affimer biotherapeutics and reagents, has started shipping Affimer reagents for COVID-19 antigen testing to its diagnostic test development partners.

The Group recently reported that it had generated multiple, highly specific Affimer reagents that bind the SARS-COV-2 viral antigen and do not cross-react with SARS, MERS and other closely related coronaviruses. These Affimer reagents will be used to develop a point-of-care saliva based COVID-19 antigen test strip by Cytiva (formerly GE Healthcare Life Sciences) for CE marking in Europe and FDA approval in the United States.

The Affimer reagents have been manufactured by Avacta in the quantities required for test development and are being sent to Cytiva. The reagents are also being provided to Adeptrix with whom Avacta has announced that it will develop a COVID-19 laboratory test to run on hospital mass spectrometers using Adeptrix’s proprietary BAMS assay platform.

The Affimer reagents have been studied further by Avacta and this has shown that there are Affimer reagents that can work in pairs, both binding to the spike protein at the same time. This allows tests to be developed that detect both the intact virus particle and the detached spike proteins which become separated from the virus particle during the development of the COVID-19 disease, which may also be important in monitoring disease progression.

Cytiva and Avacta will now work to develop rapid test strips for the detached spike protein and for the intact virus particle. Adeptrix is working to develop a prototype BAMS test. Both of these tests will indicate whether a person has the infection at that moment.