Singapore-based biotech start-up MiRXES announced that it has received Provisional Authorization from the Health Sciences Authority (HSA) Singapore, to supply the Fortitude Kit SARS-CoV-2 real-time RT-PCR (reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction) test. With technology licensed from Singapore’s Agency for Science, Technology, and Research (A*STAR) and the HSA Provisional Authorization, MiRXES becomes a legal product owner to manufacture and distribute the Fortitude Kit.
The diagnostic test kit has been manufactured by MiRXES under contract from A*STAR since February 2020. Fortitude Kit is the first SARS-CoV-2 diagnostic test deployed as a complete kit in Singapore. The test kit detects the SARS-CoV-2 virus, which causes the novel coronavirus disease COVID-19. This is done with high accuracy using a 1-step real-time RT-PCR process.
RT-PCR tests are the gold standard for diagnosing active viral infections through the detection of viral RNA from patient samples. The diagnostic test kit was developed by researchers at A*STAR and the Department of Laboratory Medicine at Tan Tock Seng Hospital (TTSH). The development and pilot production of the test kit was supported by the Diagnostics Development (DxD) Hub, a national initiative led by A*STAR’s commercialization arm, A*ccelerate.
DISTRIBUTION OF KITS
To date, the Fortitude Kit has been deployed in 13 Singapore hospitals and labs, public and private, and more than 20 countries internationally. It has been procured by agencies and healthcare institutions around the world, including those in Hong Kong, New Zealand, and the United States. Batches of Fortitude Kit were also part of the medical supplies donated by the Singapore Government to countries including Brunei, Indonesia, Myanmar and the Philippines.
Given the growing number of mutations in reported SARS-CoV-2 genomes, MiRXES continues to work closely with A*STAR and TTSH to monitor the evolution of the novel coronavirus, and is committed to upgrading the diagnostic test on a regular basis to stay ahead of mutations.
THE LARGER TREND
The tiny nation-state of Singapore has developed a number of test kits for COVID-19, such as the Veredus Laboratories’ VereCoV detection kit, JN Medsys ProTect COVID-19 PCR Kit, Camtech Diagnostics’ COVID-19 Rapid Test and Biolidics COVID-19 rapid test kit, which is slated to launch in the US soon.
Singapore has been aggressively testing foreign workers for COVID-19, with up to 1500 to 2500 tests being carried out on them daily, according to a report by The Straits Times. In the past month, the total cumulative number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Singapore has skyrocketed to past the 10,000 mark, largely due to numerous virus clusters found in foreign workers’ dormitories.
ON THE RECORD
“MiRXES is looking forward to supporting the local ramp-up in testing, as recently announced by Singapore’s Prime Minister. We are doing all we can to support governments and healthcare professionals in fighting COVID-19. Our long-standing partnership with A*ccelerate, and DxD Hub, together with our experience and capabilities in developing and producing PCR-based diagnostic tests enabled us to move swiftly in setting up the production of the Fortitude Kit and to scale at speed, while upholding stringent quality control frameworks,” said Dr. Zhou Lihan, Co-founder and CEO of MiRXES.