Australian respiratory company Rhinomed (ASX:RNO) says it is advanced in developing a new high-yielding nasal swab that can collect samples from the nose to test for the presence of upper respiratory tract diseases, including influenza and coronavirus strains.
The company said the new nasal swab is an extension of its existing nasal technology platform and intellectual property patent portfolio.
Rhinomed said its existing nasal products have been worn since 2016 and are sold in more than 20,000 pharmacies around the world.
The new swab will use standard electrostatically flocked nylon to capture sample material. Rhinomed said it has "leveraged the learnings" from its registered nasal devices Mute (anti-snoring), Pronto (anti-nasal-congestion and sleep improvement) and Turbine (improved breathing for sports) to create a new nasal swab it believes has benefits over existing products.
Rhinomed’s nasal swab is designed for self-collection either in the home, the workplace or in a clinical setting and is expected to respond to the significant issues that exist with current nasopharyngeal swabs that are reportedly both highly invasive and uncomfortable.
The company said its swab is designed to be able to collect a significantly larger sample, be worn for a predetermined time and collect a sample from both nostrils simultaneously, thus offering the potential for a more effective diagnostic sample. The swab has been designed to fit into existing vials and work with existing pathology workflows.
“An increasing body of evidence and research supports the proposition that mass, high-frequency testing could be a vital tool in managing epidemics, pandemics and infectious disease outbreaks,” said Rhinomed CEO Michael Johnson.
“Rhinomed believes that an effective, easy-to-use and comfortable nasal swab that everyone can use, every day, could play an important role in achieving this outcome. It is possible that this type of solution when coupled with both existing and emerging pathology solutions could play a vital part in interrupting coronavirus transmission.”
The said it is now rapidly scoping out manufacturing and is assessing additive manufacturing (3D printing) solutions, existing offshore manufacturing resources and scoping out the possibility of local manufacturing. The company said it plans to register the device in Australia, the US and in the European Union as a Class 1 medical device and has begun defining the protocol for a clinical trial to be carried out at a Melbourne hospital.
Rhinomed added it is also advancing discussions with potential commercial partners in respect to the program.