24 March 2020 | News
To facilitate more accessible testing of viral infections such as COVID-19
Image credit- shuttershock.com
Singapore based molecular diagnostics company Lucence has announced the development of the SAFER-Sample (Stabilization of nucleic Acid Formulation for Evaluation of RNA) kit, a sample collection medical device to facilitate more accessible testing of viral infections such as COVID-19.
The SAFER-Sample medical device is a collection kit that comes with a bottle of stabilization fluid to be mixed with the sample at the point of collection, keeping viral RNA stable at room temperature for up to one week. The sample can then be transported to a testing lab without the need for chilling, especially useful in countries where samples must be transported across large geographical areas for testing.
Dr. Tan Min-Han, Founding CEO of Lucence and Adjunct Clinician-Scientist at the Institute of Bioengineering and Nanotechnology (IBN) of A*STAR said, “We are very glad that our technology, used to reduce suffering of cancer patients, can contribute to accurate testing solutions during this global crisis. In line with our mission of using molecular technology to improve health worldwide, we are making up to 10,000 kits available at no cost to the scientific community.”
The reagent used in the SAFER-Sample kit was invented at the Institute of Bioengineering and Nanotechnology of A*STAR, the Agency for Science, Technology and Research of Singapore. Experiments demonstrate that SAFER-Sample allows for better stabilization of the genomes of RNA viruses, versus other types of specimen transport media at room temperature, to facilitate more accurate testing.
Additional evaluation of SAFER-Sample’s ability to inactivate COVID-19 at collection is in progress to understand the kit’s ability to improve the safety of healthcare workers while they collect and process patient samples. With Lucence’s expertise in non-invasive ultrasensitive molecular testing technology, and the productizing capabilities of the Diagnostics Development (DxD) Hub, SAFER-Sample kit can also be used for non-invasive sample types including saliva. DxD Hub is a national initiative led by A*ccelerate, the commercialization arm of Singapore’s Agency for Science, Technology and Research.