Scots-led innovation offers 'game-changing' testing platform in fight against Covid-19

A Scots-led innovation is being pitched as a “game-changing” platform for lateral flow tests that could be vital in the fight against Covid-19.

The technology also allows the lateral flow tests to be adapted easily and rapidly to detect antibodies to newly isolated variants when mutations arise.

Accurate repeat testing, such as that being offered through the technology developed by Coronex, will enable monitoring of antibody responses to vaccination over time, and inform the need for repeat immunisation.

The proprietary platform has been used to develop highly optimised lateral flow tests for SARS-Cov-2 antibodies. It also allows the tests to be adapted easily and rapidly to detect antibodies to newly isolated variants when mutations arise.

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Coronex was set up in April to address unmet needs in lateral flow antibody testing. It has brought together experts in the development of large scale test and antigen manufacture.

The partners in the collaboration are Scottish Health Innovations (representing NHS Greater Glasgow & Clyde), together with a number of Scottish and UK-based biotechnology industry partners – Excivion, Lateral Dx, Activotec, The Antibody Company – and Glasgow-based investment partner Axon Healthcare Investments.

Coronex is now seeking an investment partner that can support further development and validation, bring the innovative test into early clinical use and extend the technology to other diagnostic areas.

Eric Wagner, director of the Antibody Company, which is based in Motherwell, said: “We are in no doubt that the Coronex platform has re-engineered and revolutionised lateral flow technology.

“The adaptability of the technology is vitally important when we see the rapid spread of the new coronavirus variants; and whilst our primary focus has been on SARS-Cov-2, the same core technology could have applications for other infectious agents, or in detecting auto-antibodies in autoimmune disorders or monitoring therapeutic antibodies used as drug treatments.”

Graham Watson, executive chairman of Scottish Health Innovations Limited (SHIL), said: “The rapid research and development efforts of a homegrown team of experts, combined with the regulatory and commercial expertise of Scottish Health Innovations, has brought Coronex to the stage of patent application. It is a vital breakthrough that we are immensely proud to be part of.

“Whilst the Covid-19 pandemic motivated these efforts, the application of the unique lateral flow technology in other infectious disease areas represents an attractive prospect for investment and acceleration at an incredibly important time.”

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