Avacta Group, Wetherby, UK, has generated multiple affimer reagents that bind the SARS-CoV-2 viral antigen. Multiple highly specific affimer binders have now been generated that bind to the spike proteins of the SARS-CoV-2 virus and do not crossreact with other very closely related viruses, such as SARS and MERS. The work, which was finished ahead of schedule, was done in collaboration with Cytiva, Marlborough, Mass, to develop an affimer-based rapid test for covid-19.

“The speed with which highly specific affimer reagents can be generated is just one of the many significant advantages of the technology,” says Alastair Smith, PhD, chief executive officer of Avacta Group. “The need for rapid antigen tests to diagnose covid-19 infection that can be mass produced for professional screening of large populations, and for self-testing by consumers themselves, is crucial to limiting and tracking the spread of this disease. Antigen testing will also be critical to lockdown exit strategies around the world in order to get healthy, noncontagious people back to work to reboot economies, and there will be an ongoing need for several years for antigen testing as the disease recurs.”

Avacta is in active discussion with other global diagnostic companies to develop affimer-based covid-19 antigen tests to increase high-throughput testing capacity on a worldwide scale.

For more information, visit Avacta.

Featured image: Alastair Smith, PhD, Avacta Group.