Novel coronavirus outbreak has created some unprecedented situations in several domains round the World. No vertical is left untouched as the economy tumbles down impacting the human race. Goals of the several industries such as tourism and hospitality that are hit hard, have shifted as they find new ways to create business to reduce the impact of the situation. Similarly, the focus of the healthcare domain has shifted towards developing novel treatments, therapies, diagnostic kits, and preventive vaccines to deal with SARS-CoV-2

No doubt, scientists, researchers, pharmaceuticals, and healthcare institutions, alone or in collaboration with governmental agencies are devotedly working day and night to save the humans from the clutches of the virus, however; the transmission of the virus is still out of control and is increasing at an unforeseen rate. 

The rapid spread of the virus has put the healthcare agencies in a perilous position as they are running out of the diagnostics kits. Many countries are facing a key shortage of testing supplies such as swabs to collect samples from patients, testing kits and reagents (a vital chemical). To deal with the current situation, governments and companies around the world are working in collaboration to fulfil the current diagnostic demand. Globally a large number of diagnostic projects are going on to boost testing for COVID-19. Some of the diagnostic projects are-

Co-Diagnostics and Promega’s agreement

Co-Diagnostics has signed an agreement with Promega for enhancing the manufacturing capacity of the Logix Smart COVID-19 test. Earlier this month the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has granted Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) to Logix Smart™ Coronavirus COVID-19 Test to be used for the diagnosis of SARS-CoV-2, the agreement will reinforce Co-Diagnostics production capacity on urgent production. As of now, Co-Diagnostics is serving customers across five continents and several locations throughout the United States. The agreement will help the Co-Diagnostics to scale up the manufacturing process and meet the current demand for diagnosis kits in the market due to the pandemic situation.

Northwestern University’s One-step diagnostic tool 

To address the ongoing novel coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis, Northwestern University’s One-step diagnostic tool has received a rapid response research (RAPID) grant of $200,000 for one year from the National Science Foundation (NSF). 

Northwestern University’s One-step diagnostic tool will be easy-to-use, quick-screen technology that can test for COVID-19 in the human body. The single-step test will provide the result within an hour and at the location where the test was taken. Also, the tool will use one sample that can provide an easy-to-read negative or positive result. The toll is expected to reduce testing time, the burden on the healthcare system and infrastructure.

LabCorp’s at-home COVID-19 test kit

The LabCorp’s at home COVID-19 test has received authorization by the FDA. Initially, the kit will be available only to the healthcare workers and first responders. 

The kit is expected to be available to consumers in the coming week. The kit includes sample collection materials along with nasal swab, after the collection of the sample, the kit is returned in a pre-paid package for further testing of SARS-CoV-2 in the laboratory.

AstraZeneca, GSK and Gov. of U.K. joint collaboration 

AstraZeneca, GSK and the University of Cambridge have formed a joint collaboration for testing COVID-19. As per the agreement a new testing laboratory will be set up at University’s Anne McLaren laboratory. The main objective of the collaboration is to find alternative chemical reagents along with high throughput screening for COVID-19 testing.

Apart from joint collaboration at the new testing facility, the two pharma giants also offered their service to provide process optimisation support at national testing centres in Milton Keynes, Alderley Park and Glasgow. The joint collaboration is expected to boost the UK’s COVID-19 diagnostic tests in the coming weeks.

IGI’s Automated COVID-19 Diagnostic Testing Initiative

The Innovative Genomics Institute has established a diagnostic testing laboratory at the UC Berkeley campus. The IGI Diagnostic Testing will use robotics and a streamlined process to perform around 1000 tests per day with additional capacity to 3000 tests per day if necessary. The IGI test centre is expected to provide results within 12 to 24 hours of sample collection, which will help in isolating, tracking, and containing the virus to a larger extent. 

The containment of the virus is underway as heavy lockdowns, restrictions, and quarantines are being imposed. Several pharma companies are involved in developing new effective diagnostics kits that have the potential to deliver the results in less time and are more accurate than the existing ones. Pharmaceuticals are also investigating novel as well as repurposed drugs to treat hospitalized COVID-19 patients running trials in several geographies. However, the situation will continue to appear grim until an effective treatment enters the pharma market.