Queen’s University receives funding to conduct COVID-19 rapid testing trial

Accurate and rapid diagnostic test for COVID-19

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Queen's University
LAMP test image. Photo - Queen's University Belfast

Queen’s University Belfast has received funding to conduct a trial with the aim of developing a rapid diagnostic test for COVID-19. The study is in partnership with HiberGene Diagnostics, Medcaptain in China, and Italian Hospital IRCCS Ospedale Policlinico San Martino, who along with Queen’s, has been awarded Euro 930,000 (approximately Rs 8 crore) from EU H2020 to develop a highly accurate diagnostic test for COVID-19 that aims to show results within an hour. The test would enable clinicians to test for COVID-19 on-site, eliminating the need to send tests to a centralized laboratory, saving time and resources.

Cliff Taggart, lead researcher from the Wellcome-Wolfson Institute for Experimental Medicine at Queen’s University, said, “The local availability, speed and accuracy of the test will help inform public health preparedness and response in the ongoing pandemic.”

The test for COVID 19 disease utilizes LAMP technology and Hibergene’s proprietary technology know how. The Belfast Health and Social Care Trust carried out the initial development work on a prototype Meningococcal Disease test in collaboration with Queen’s University Belfast and funded by the Meningitis Research Foundation and Health and Social Care Research and Development Division. The prototype technology was exclusively licensed by HSC Innovations to Hibergene Diagnostics, Dublin, Ireland, who subsequently commercialized the test for sale via Hibergene’s network of 45 distributors covering over 70 countries worldwide.

Seamus Gorman, chief executive officer of Hibergene said, “We are delighted to lead an international consortium to quickly develop and bring to market a rapid easy to use molecular diagnostic test for COVID 19 disease. Rapid diagnosis and reporting of results is the key to containing the COVID 19 disease and this test can play an important role in its diagnosis and control.”

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