Clinical collaboration launched to validate COVID-19 test

A collaboration has begun to clinically validate a new rapid test for COVID-19.

Wetherby-based Avacta Group has joined forces with the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine for its saliva-based coronavirus antigen test which it is developing with Cytiva.

LSTM has been at the forefront of research into infectious, debilitating and disabling diseases since 1898, and was the first institution in the world dedicated to research and teaching in tropical medicine.

In addition to working with the UK Government’s CONDOR programme to provide Avacta with access to patient samples in the UK, the partnership with LSTM also provides the opportunity to access patient samples in Africa and South America.

The higher prevalence of the disease in those regions means samples for prospective clinical validation studies are more readily available which, if necessary, could be used to speed up the validation process.

Clinical validation is the process of evaluating the performance of a diagnostic test using real patient samples. 

Dr Alastair Smith, chief executive of Avacta Group, said: “I am delighted to have established this collaboration with the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine.

“It is an important partnership which provides Avacta with access to patient samples both in the UK and abroad, where the incidence of the disease is currently much higher, to ensure prompt access to a sufficient number of samples for clinical validation.

“We have been working with the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine for some time to define the target performance specifications of the saliva-based rapid test and their insight has been tremendously helpful in this regard.”

Dr Lisa Baldwin, business development manager at LSTM, said: “The partnership exemplifies the role of the LSTM in translational work to advance products to market and we are pleased to be working with Avacta on this coronavirus antigen test.”