Kelowna company gets $300,000 boost to create 10-minute COVID-19 test | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Kelowna company gets $300,000 boost to create 10-minute COVID-19 test

This image provided by The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID). This scanning electron microscope image shows SARS-CoV-2 (orange)—also known as 2019-nCoV, the virus that causes COVID-19—isolated from a patient in the U.S., emerging from the surface of cells (green) cultured in the lab.
Image Credit: (NIAID-RML via AP)
June 09, 2020 - 3:24 PM

A Kelowna company that got a nod from Prime Minister Justin Trudeau for its work toward creating a 10-minute COVID-19 test also got a $300,000 boost.

Metabolic Insights Inc was awarded a $300,000 grant by the Industrial Research Assistance Program of the National Research Council through its Innovative Solutions Canada Challenge Program to re-purpose the Company's existing proprietary salivary insulin technology to detect the SARS-2-CoV (COVID-19) virus in saliva. One of the objectives of the challenge is to demonstrate a new prototype point-of-care COVID-19 test in three months.

"We built our technology platform to allow for the testing of a variety of proteins through a simple saliva test. This grant will accelerate the demonstration of the ability to test initially for COVID-19 and for a variety of infectious diseases,” said David Turner, CEO, in a press release.

“We hope to dramatically shift how testing and monitoring for this and other clinically impactful proteins can occur in the future. Our goal is to be able to detect the COVID-19 virus though a small saliva sample in under 10 minutes.”

The grant will enable Metabolic Insights to expand the markets for its proprietary technology platform, which analyses peptides in human body fluids, into infectious diseases from health, wellness and nutrition.
Testing for the presence of the COVID-19 virus is performed in a centralized laboratory setting using Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) molecular assays to detect the viral genetic material.

Patients are currently required to undergo an unpleasant nasal swabbing procedure. This process is time-consuming and can only be completed by qualified personnel in a  laboratory setting. Results are generally not communicated to the patient for 24 hours or more.

A saliva-based test would be advantageous, being non-invasive, quick, allowing the transfer of testing from a hospital to an outpatient environment. This would make it an ideal tool for screening by physicians, pharmacies, a point-of-care home diagnosis, and distribution to rural populations.

A point-of-care device is suitable for testing passengers before flying, regular testing of athletes, and admission into sporting or cultural venues. 

To contact a reporter for this story, email Kathy Michaels or call 250-718-0428 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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