Scientists from the Slovak companies MultiplexDX, Lambda Life and ProScience Tech have joined forces with virologists from the Biomedical Center of the Slovak Academy of Sciences (BMC SAV) to develop a reagent kit according to World Health Organization (WHO) protocols for reliable SARS-CoV-2 detection. In the first phase they plan to produce and make available 100,000 PCR tests. The ESET Foundation supported the development of the kit and will finance the first 100,000 tests to be offered as an in-kind gift to the Slovak Republic.
Key components have been brought to the project by MultiplexDX, a company dedicated to developing and manufacturing various innovative molecular diagnostic reagents. The Slovak PCR test is currently being validated in cooperation with a team of scientists from the BMC SAV. Preliminary results of the new test not only show nominal functionality, but also good sensitivity compared to currently used diagnostics. “This means that our test is reliable and accurate and can help diagnose early stage patients. We can produce key components for 100,000 PCR tests within two weeks,” explained Pavol Čekan, founder of MultiplexDX.
“In the process of validation and subsequent registration of the resulting report, we are cooperating with the non-profit organization CCCT SK. This stage is estimated to take about three weeks,” said Adam Andráško of ProScience Tech.
“Virus detection consists of sample collection, RNA isolation and PCR diagnostics, with our joint efforts focused on the last step,” said Ivan Juráš of Lambda Life.
“I believe that the efforts of our scientists will be crowned with success, and that we will have sufficient PCR tests from our own resources for the task at hand, coronavirus detection. This will not only help Slovakia by providing much-needed testing, but will also create a reserve in case there is a shortage of tests globally,” noted Robert Mistrík from the permanent crisis staff.
The ESET Foundation supported the development of the test and provided funding for the first 100,000 units from its fund to support the effective diagnosis and prevention of COVID-19. These tests will be offered as a gift to Slovak state institutions. “When creating the fund, it was important for us to ensure effective mass-scale diagnostics, which can only be achieved through scientific cooperation. Such a critical situation reveals the importance of supporting science in Slovakia, which the ESET Foundation has been dedicated to for a long time,” said Richard Marko, CEO of ESET.
Production capacity, including the first 100,000 tests, will be available primarily to diagnostic laboratories on the Slovak market. “We are ready to cooperate with state laboratories, flexibly responding to their needs and supplying them efficiently. After satisfying the needs of Slovak laboratories, we can then direct our capacities to other countries that may need our products,” explained the authors of the test.
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