Part of new coronavirus test is being developed in Donegal

Dungloe facility manufactured analyser used for the testing

Part of new coronavirus test is being developed in Donegal

Part of new coronavirus test being made in Donegal

Hospitals in Wuhan and Guangzhou roll out new coronavirus test developed by Irish scientists, some of which are based here in Donegal

A pioneering new test for coronavirus, which identifies COVID-19 and differentiates it from nine other respiratory infections, is to be used in Chinese hospitals.

The comprehensive test, which is being shipped this week to hospitals in Wuhan and Guangzhou, has been developed by Randox Laboratories, headquartered in Northern Ireland and is currently being manufactured, in Randox’s County Antrim facilities, on a unique technology platform known as a Biochip.

The analyser used for the testing (the Evidence Investigator) is manufactured in Randox’s County Donegal facilities in Dungloe.

This allows for each patient to be simultaneously tested for a range of respiratory infections inclusive of all known coronaviruses.

The Coronavirus Biochip tests each single patient sample for the SARS-CoV-2 virus that causes COVID-19, as well as nine other respiratory viruses, including SARS, MERS, and Influenza A and B.

This enables clinicians to quickly and efficiently differentiate between potentially lethal and non-lethal infections, prioritise patients and administer appropriate and timely treatment.

Dr Peter FitzGerald, managing director of Randox Laboratories, said
current technologies being used to diagnose COVID-19 are focused on simply detecting the presence or lack of this singular strain and therefore neglect to differentiate it from other respiratory infections.

"At Randox we have developed a multiplex Viral Respiratory Infection Array that tests for COVID-19 and nine other infections simultaneously, and are delighted that this new technology will be deployed in Wuhan and other cities across China.

“The Coronavirus Biochip will eliminate the need for multiple back-and-forth tests before the root cause of symptoms is found, thereby empowering clinicians to make faster and better-informed decisions,” he said.

Due to be used in the Central Theatre General Hospital of the People’s Liberation Army in Wuhan, the epicentre of the coronavirus outbreak, as well as in The First Affiliated Hospital of Guangzhou Medical University, the new testing technology is capable of processing 324 patient samples, generating 3,240 reportable results, in just eight hours.

The panel includes two tests for COVID-19, a specific test (SARS-CoV-2) and a confirmatory test (Sarbecoviris) on the same panel, as recommended by the World Health Organisation.

This avoids the need to repeat the test, and importantly, reduces the likelihood of incorrect diagnosis, ensuring appropriate containment and reducing the risk of further contamination.

This faster and more comprehensive testing will ultimately support the health service in China by facilitating the efficient use of valuable healthcare resources.

Byron Wang, chief executive of Beijing Promed, Randox’s partner in providing the new coronavirus test in China, added they welcomed the support of the global community in assisting them combat COVID-19 at this time.

"Randox is a highly regarded In Vitro Diagnostic company in China and has supported our market with high quality products for many years. We look forward to supplying this test to hospitals located within the area of greatest need and believe it will make a real difference.”

Dr FitzGerald concluded: “Randox is committed to saving and improving lives on a global scale and we know that this new COVID-19 test will make a significant contribution to the global coronavirus containment effort.”

The Coronavirus Biochip tests simultaneously for Coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19), Sarbecoviris (SARS, SARS like, COVID-19), Coronavirus 229E/NL63, Coronavirus OC43/HKUI, Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus (MERS-CoV), Adenovirus A/B/C/D/E, Enterovirus A/B/C, Influenza A, Influenza B and Rhinovirus A/B.

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