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ARM Innovation Hub
15 December, 2021 - 20:06 By Tony Quested

Avacta says new lateral flow test detects Omicron variant

Cambridge biopharma company Avacta is battling for consent to put a new antigen lateral flow test on the market in the UK and Europe to combat the surge of the Omicron variant of Covid.

The AIM-quoted company says its AffiDX® antigen lateral flow test has been shown to detect the variant in clinical samples.

Omicron, with more than 35 mutations of the original SARS-CoV-2 virus, first appeared in South Africa a few weeks ago and was designated a variant of concern by the World Health Organisation near the end of November. 

At the time of writing there were 4,713 confirmed cases of the highly infectious Omicron variant in the UK.

Avacta’s AffiDX® SARS-CoV-2 antigen lateral flow test has been evaluated at the Carlos III Hospital in Madrid using a small number of actual patient samples confirmed to be Omicron variant positive. 

The results indicate that the AffiDX® antigen test detects Omicron in addition to all previously identified new variants of concern.

Avacta Group chief executive Dr Alastair Smith, said: “We are delighted to confirm that the AffiDX® SARS-CoV-2 antigen lateral flow test detects the Omicron variant.

“As this variant is more infectious it is important that it can be detected in individuals with higher loads using lateral flow tests so that its spread can be slowed down.

“We are progressing with our application to the CTDA (Coronavirus Test Device Approvals) in order to put the AffiDx product on the market in the UK as well as continuing to pursue commercial opportunities in Europe and further afield for the professional-use test. 

“We also continue to work with our partners, Medusa 19 Healthcare, to obtain the CE mark for consumer self-testing for the product which is a critical next step in the commercialisation of the product.”

Avacta is a clinical stage biopharmaceutical company developing innovative cancer therapies and powerful diagnostics based on its proprietary Affimer® and pre|CISION™ platforms.

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