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Integumen formalises collaboration with Avacta as it develops real-time coronavirus detection technology

Under development is a system that can pick up the tell-tale signs of the infection in waste

Integumen -

Integumen PLC (LON:SKIN) has formalised its collaboration with Avacta PLC (LON:AVCT) to use the latter’s technology in a coronavirus (COVID-19) detection kit.

It has signed a material transfer agreement to use recently-generated affimers that bind the SARS-COV-2 spike protein to pick up the tell-tale signs of the respiratory infection in wastewater.

The affimers, small proteins that bind to target molecules, will be coated to Integumen’s wafer nano-photonic surfaces.

The company will test up to six separate variations of the Avacta IP at its facility in York over the “next few weeks” before the validation of the sensors on SARS-CoV-2 at a secure lab at Aberdeen University.

Once testing is completed, the plan is to integrate the system into the Microtox water contamination systems developed by Modern Water PLC (LON:MWG).

Integumen said the Avacta affimers “have the potential to play a key role in the real-time identification of localised COVID-19 hotspots in wastewater”.

“The global pandemic has highlighted wastewater as an early warning hotspot detection opportunity and the inclusion of affimer reagents with our sensors adds an already established method of capturing the virus to  an already established pathogen alert system,” Integumen chief executive Gerard Brandon said in a statement.

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