Singapore company develops COVID-19 test kit that significantly speeds up diagnosis

·2-min read
Veredus Laboratories ZeroPrep Saliva Collection Kit. (PHOTO: Veredus Laboratories)
Veredus Laboratories ZeroPrep Saliva Collection Kit. (PHOTO: Veredus Laboratories)

SINGAPORE — A Singapore bio-tech company has developed a COVID-19 test kit that significantly reduces the time needed to diagnose a patient.

Veredus Laboratories announced in a media release on Thursday (17 September) that it has launched the VereRT COVID-19 Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) Kit that can be administered either on human saliva or from swab.

The kit is able to detect the virus directly from a sample using the PCR testing process, thereby eliminating the need to extract a sample’s viral ribonucleic acid (RNA), which comprises several laborious steps.

It is able to collect human saliva as a specimen for COVID-19 diagnosis as it has a specially formulated preservation buffer to stabilise and preserve viral RNA.

This reduces the processing time of the test to about 90 minutes. The current PCR test typically takes more than two hours, as it entails a two-step process of extracting the viral RNA before amplifying the DNA to identify the virus.

“It results in cost- and time-saving, as well as a reduction in vulnerability to supply chain shortages especially during high-volume testing by laboratories globally,” Veredus Laboratories said in its media release.

With the VereRT test kit able to be administered on human saliva, collection of sample is also non-invasive as saliva can be obtained easily without assistance, as compared to the swab test in which trained medical personnel is required to administer the procedure.

The kit is currently pending approval from the Health Sciences Authority (HSA) for use on patients to diagnose COVID-19 in Singapore.

“This method of direct COVID-19 testing is the next step for us as we seek to increase the testing capacity of healthcare authorities and laboratories by reducing workflow complexity in COVID-19 molecular testing.” said Dr Rosemary Tan, chief executive officer of Veredus Laboratories.

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