Charles University unveils combined diagnostic test for COVID-19 and flu

The reasonably priced tests are meant to be applied at a time when the coronavirus outbreak and flu season collide

ČTK

Written by ČTK
Published on 06.10.2020 13:17 (updated on 06.10.2020)

Prague, Oct 6 (CTK) - Charles University (CU) has unveiled a new multiplex diagnostic kit for COVID-19 and flu A, B which allows patients to seek the appropriate treatment (antivirals or quarantine) as flu season converges with the coronavirus pandemic.

The kit is intented to speed up testing during a period when both illnesses could occur simultaneously. The kit has been developed by CU medical experts in cooperation with their counterparts from the commercial sector.

The Prague-based university presented a part of the product, a COVID-19 test, in early September; it has been on sale for some time now.

Charles University Rector Tomas Zima said the educational institution has not yet negotiated with the government about the distribution of its new innovation.

The university previously said that from the moment of the samples' arrival in a laboratory, the test results of a series of 94 samples are available in less than 1.5 hours.

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Apart from offering the relevant chemical substances, the developers of the test aim to give laboratories advice on how to optimize the procedure to make it as efficient as possible.

The sample-taking kit contains a solution that inactivates viruses and reliably preserves them at room temperature.

Within the isolation kit, the isolation of the viral RNA, which is the most time-consuming phase of the testing process, has been shortened to under ten minutes.

At present, this technology is applied in performing about 5 percent of all tests in the Czech Republic.

The university wants to sell the multiplex kit in the Czech Republic and abroad, with its price not exceeding 1,200 crowns per piece, compared with the widely used PCR test, which should cost 1,674 crowns at the most, according to the Health Ministry.

The new test was developed by the team of Stanislav Kmoch, from the university's First Faculty of Medicine, together with the Generi Biotech, Spadia Lab, and ZKV Career companies. In August, the university established GeneSpector, its subsidiary in charge of test distribution.