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WUHAN VIRUS OUTBREAK

Singapore biotech firm Veredus expects to have Wuhan virus test by Feb 1

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Homegrown biotech firm Veredus Laboratories on Friday announced it is developing a test for the Wuhan virus.

Singapore

HOMEGROWN biotech firm Veredus Laboratories on Friday announced it is developing a test for the Wuhan virus.

The VereCoV detection kit is expected to be commercially available by Feb 1 this year, said Singapore-based Veredus, which was previously indirectly owned by Temasek Holdings.

The kit is a portable lab-on-chip application that will be able to detect the Wuhan coronavirus as well as the Sars and Mers viruses with "high specificity and sensitivity", Veredus noted. It is based on lab-on-chip technology which integrates two molecular biological applications, polymerase chain reaction and microarray.

Rosemary Tan, chief executive officer of Veredus, said this will be one of the first commercially available kits in the world with the capability to detect, differentiate and identify all three coronaviruses in a single test in about two hours.

"Time-to-market is crucial as it addresses the need for a fast and easy-to-use detection method," she added.

The lab-on-chip application was also previously used by Veredus to create detection kits for the Mers, Zika, Dengue and H1N1 viruses.

The company also previously made diagnostic tests that could detect avian flu H5N1, Sars and other respiratory diseases within two hours of testing.

Veredus was started by Dr Tan in 2003, and is now owned by Japanese plastics giant Sekisui Chemical.

Temasek-backed Advanced MedTech (formerly Accuron MedTech), a medical device maker and medtech investor, had sold its 51 per cent stake in Veredus to Sekisui back in April 2018.