SINGAPORE-BASED biotech firm Veredus Laboratories on Thursday said its coronavirus test has received provisional authorisation from Singapore's Health Sciences Authority for in-vitro diagnostic use.
This means the VereCoV detection kit can now be used directly by laboratories or hospitals to test patients for clinical diagnosis.
The kit is able to detect the Covid-19 and Sars (Severe acute respiratory syndrome) viruses "with high specificity and sensitivity" simultaneously in two hours, the company said.
The kit uses swab samples from a patient’s respiratory tract to test for the coronaviruses, in line with recommendations from the World Health Organization. In some instances, blood and faeces can also be tested, Veredus told The Business Times (BT), adding that the test kit has an accuracy rate of 99 per cent.
The detection kit was first launched earlier this month for research use only. In January, Veredus had announced that the kit will be commercially available by Feb 1.
In response to BT's queries, Veredus declined to reveal its order pipeline or specify which markets it will be supplying to.
Its chief executive Rosemary Tan said in a press statement on Thursday that the commercial launch of the VereCoV detection kit signifies a breakthrough in the detection of the novel coronavirus and Sars virus.
"Naturally, the next critical step would be for our kit to play an important role in the clinical diagnosis of Covid-19 within the healthcare community," Dr Tan added.
The kit is based on the VereChip technology - a portable lab-on-chip platform integrating two molecular biological applications.
It is a collaborative effort between Veredus and the Home Team Science and Technology Agency's chemical, biological, radiology, nuclear and explosives centre of expertise.
Currently, without this new test kit, the entire process from sample-taking to getting a diagnosis for Covid-19 could take up to a day, depending on factors such as transportation, sample processing or sorting data, according to reports from The Straits Times.
Other kits on the market include a diagnostic test developed by scientists at the Agency for Science, Technology and Research, another by Acumen Research Laboratories that can analyse at least 24 patient samples at a time, and a serological test developed by researchers at the Duke-NUS Medical School that can establish links between coronavirus patients.