Camtech Diagnostics, the R & D arm of Singapore-based tech company Camtech Holdings, and JN Medsys, a Singapore-based biotech company, announced plans to increase production of two COVID-19 test kits in Singapore, having obtained provisional authorization from Singapore’s Health Sciences Authority (HSA).
WHAT THE TEST KITS DO
Camtech Diagnostics’ COVID-19 IgG/IgM Rapid Qualitative Screening Test (Rapid Test) detects for the antibodies immunoglobulin M (lgM) and immunoglobulin G (IgG) in serum, plasma and whole blood of those infected with COVID-19. The test provides results in ten minutes without specialized equipment or laboratory-trained personnel.
This makes it a quick and easy tool for assisting in the screening and identification of asymptomatic carriers during this COVID-19 outbreak, although it should not be used for confirmatory testing, or as the sole basis of a diagnosis.
JN Medsys’ test kit, the ProTect COVID-19 RT-qPCR Kit (PCR Kit) is a nucleic acid test that detects for the virus that causes COVID-19. The PCR Kit identifies the genetic material of the SARS-CoV-2 virus isolated from infected patient samples using the reverse transcription quantitative polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) method.
It utilizes the United States (US) Centers for Disease Control and Prevention protocol, detecting three targets on the virus genes to test for COVID-19 infection. The RT-PCR method is known as the gold standard method for its high sensitivity and specificity to identify the virus even at low copies. The test results can be obtained within two hours, with an accuracy of more than 95 per cent.
In addition to HSA’s provisional license, JN Medsys has obtained approval for the PCR Kit from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) of the Philippines, and is in the process of obtaining approval from the US FDA. The PCR kits have been clinically validated in Singapore and abroad.
THE LARGER TREND
Singapore-listed medtech company Biolidics launched its rapid test kit for COVID-19 at the end of March and just earlier this week, announced its plans to launch the rapid test kit in the US. Other COVID-19 test kits from Singapore include the Veredus Laboratories’ VereCoV detection kit, A*STAR and TTSH’s Fortitude Kit 2.0, and the ongoing development of a COVID-19 detection kit by iHealthTech researchers.
The number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 have spiked dramatically in Singapore during the past month, due to large virus clusters forming at migrant workers’ dormitories. 15 April 2020 (Wednesday) saw the highest daily tally of 447 confirmed cases of COVID-19 to date, bringing the total number of infections to 3699. As of 15 April, there were 10 COVID-19 related deaths in the country.
ON THE RECORD
Dr Kuok Meng-Han, Founder and Managing Director of Camtech, said, “The current COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in the urgent requirement of various countries globally for diagnostic tests to identify the presence of the virus and antibodies in the blood. Our complementary test kits cover the spectrum from accurate lab-based methods to rapid, point-of-care tests, crucial to helping control and contain the spread of the disease.”
“We are now planning to expand manufacturing in Singapore for both kits in order to meet the projected demand. Our background in developing high-end molecular and point-of-care diagnostic tests enabled us to use these platforms to rapidly develop and supply COVID-19 tests,” added Dr Kuok.
Dr Johnson Ng, Chief Executive Officer of JN Medsys, said, “Digital PCR is already a core product for our existing business, and we have now extended our business line to PCR Kits to cater to worldwide demand. Our familiarity with manufacturing and distributing high quality PCR-related instruments and kits allows us to get these test kits quickly to the hospitals and labs, where accurate and affordable testing is so crucial for the containment of the COVID-19 outbreak. We have deployed these PCR Kits to China, Malaysia and Indonesia, and will be distributing them to ASEAN, Europe and South America soon.”