Microbio announces development of replicating SARS-CoV-2 virus test

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Microbio says it has developed a new type of COVID-19 test that has the potential to determine not only if someone has the virus but could also indicate whether they are infectious.

The Australian company has announced its InfectID-COVID-19-R test has been independently validated to identify the presence of replication-competent SARS-CoV-2 virus in samples in 45 minutes (post RNA extraction).

Microbio chief scientific officer Dr Flavia Huygens said, “With current tests, the only way to know if a person is actually shedding replication-competent virus is to culture the virus, which can take several days.

“It’s just not feasible to do this for every patient, which is why we’re so excited about our new, rapid test.”

Dr Huygens said, “We know that one of the biggest limitations of current Reverse Transcriptase Polymerase Chain Reaction (RT-PCR) based tests – is that they can’t tell if the virus they’re picking up is replicating or simply inactive pieces of the virus that the body sheds as it fights the virus.

“We believe this is why we have all seen multiple reports of people continuing to test positive forSARS-CoV-2 weeks or even months after their initial diagnosis.”

Paul Carboon, Microbio CEO said, “One of the many benefits of our test is that it is platform agnostic and will perform on many off the shelf PCR machines with melt curve capabilities, hence we expect many labs already have the equipment and skilled staff to take advantage of the InfectID-COVID-19-R assay

“This is a potential breakthrough —as the world looks to open up safely, having accurate real-time testing is extremely important while we await the development and mass production of an effective vaccine,” said Mr Carboon.

“The company has the immediate capacity to provide kits to labs wanting to evaluate the test and is in the process of establishing manufacturing in Australia.

“We have had considerable international interest including from the United States.”