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World’s first affordable saliva test for COVID-19 provides accurate results under 15 minutes

Vatic founders
Image credits: Vatic

Vatic, a new UK-based healthtech company has announced that it is all set to launch the world’s first affordable on-the-spot saliva test during the COVID-19 crisis. In addition to identifying the COVID-19 infections, this test will also detect who is infectious and pass the virus to others.

Get results in less than 15 minutes!

Called KnowNow COVID-19, this test is unique and easy-to-do. As per the company, it can be done via a simple salivary swap test and is designed to work instantly. For instance, it can be conducted at an airport or queue. What makes it unique is that it can provide accurate results in less than 15 minutes along with accessible pricing per test depending on the application. Also, this on-the-spot COVID-19 test will be CE Marked and available in January.

Vatic claims that this will be the first commercial test of its kind in the world. Founded by a partnership between UK and Danish scientists, its technology works as a trapdoor using COVID-19 virus’ own mechanism of cell entry to generate signal. All the other antigen tests work by identifying the nucleocapsid protein in the centre of the virus, which is not a real measure of infectivity.

Vatic CEO and co-founder, Alex Sheppard, said, “We are radically rethinking how people access screening for COVID-19. To re-open society and make communities safer we need testing that is rapid, on the spot and scalable. We can provide a safe robust test with results in minutes. The test is also easy to do – so avoiding an unpleasant back of throat swab, which is challenging to get a reliable sample from, or prolonged wait for a lab test.”

Vatic Co-founder and Chief Technology Officer, Dr Mona Kab Omir, said, “The more we can encourage and enable regular testing across the population – giving people clarity about whether they are infected (and, critically, infectious), the quicker our lives will start to look more ‘normal’.”

Vatic Medical Adviser, Dr Jack Kreindler, said, “We believe this technology will prove to have the scientific efficacy, medical practicality and affordability to help restore life to near-normal, alongside the vaccines, to overcome what is the greatest public health, and economic health crises in living memory.”

Vatic is backed by key investors including Hoxton Ventures and LocalGlobe. Rob Kniaz, partner at Hoxton Ventures, said, “We think this technology has the potential to be the ‘holy grail’ of COVID testing based on the price and performance of the product. No other tests offer this powerful combination to make testing an affordable daily option for front-line workers, travellers and many more.”

Julia Hawkins, partner at LocalGlobe, said, “The team at Vatic have worked incredibly hard to get KnowNow technology to the stage where it’s ready to release to market. Their combined technology and science expertise has created a product which can not only roll out and support the economy to get back to normal, but one that can be adapted in the future for on-the-spot predictive screening of other acute diseases. It’s an exciting breakthrough.”

Better detection capability

KnowNow COVID-19 test is accurate as it detects the spike protein on the virus’ surface by mimicking the properties of a human cell and tricking the virus into reacting with it. This test creates a signal that is visible to the human eye, thereby eliminating the need for any other equipment. Eventually, the test results are obtained almost instantly.

It is touted to detect 50,000 to 200,000 viral copies/ml as compared to the other lateral flow tests released so far, thereby making it ideal for mass screening. Also, it is claimed to be an affordable solution for immediate screening results, which is entirely developed and manufactured in the UK.