The Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF) has tied up with Japanese scientists to create a state-of-the-art portable kit that can test for the coronavirus (COVID-19) within 30 mins and will go into mass production in April, the fund reported in press release on March 16.
With a vaccine reportedly at least a year away, the kit will help in the fight against the spread of the virus by allowing accurate tests to be conducted anywhere and give immediate results without the need for laboratories, the RDIF said.
“The system uses a SmartAmp isothermal molecular diagnostic method, where the technology provides results with accuracy comparable to real-time Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) analysis, while the speed of testing significantly exceeds PCR and does not require a stationary laboratory. This express testing system reflects successful co-operation between Russian and Japanese companies and scientists. Full scale use of the testing system is expected in April 2020,” the RDIF said in a statement.
The test was developed in co-operation with Japanese scientists and Russia’s “Vektor” virology centre. RDIF is also promoting the technology in foreign markets, and the developed system is undergoing an accelerated certification process to obtain the necessary permits in Europe, Asia and the Middle East. At the same time, leading laboratories and clinics in the UAE, Saudi Arabia and Austria confirmed the high accuracy of the test and made preliminary bids for the purchase of over 500,000 test kits.
The system can be used in laboratories, but a portable version the size of a small suitcase has also been developed for use anywhere, including hospitals and public institutions (schools, offices, airports, train stations).
“Large-scale use of the system will help prevent the spread of coronavirus infection through the rapid detection of infected individuals. Early detection will also increase the effectiveness of treating infected people. According to RDIF’s analysis of the best technologies for testing for coronavirus, this technology is the most advanced,” the RDIF claims.
Since the first reports of the appearance of the coronavirus in January 2020, the RDIF began searching for the most effective options for responding to the threat of the spread of the virus and examining international experience. Analysis of existing advanced technologies for testing coronavirus was carried out and the best scientific solutions were selected.
Kirill Dmitriev, CEO of the RDIF, said: “From the very beginning of the spread of the virus, RDIF, together with international partners, has been actively searching for the most effective technologies and methods for controlling coronavirus. The activities of the Centre of Expertise will make it possible to quickly find the best methods, which will significantly reduce the time of diagnosis and help scale the most effective world practices. The network of international partnerships with the leading investors around the world strengthens RDIF’s expertise on the best world practices in various fields, including the combat against coronavirus, and enables the promotion of successful Russian technologies in international markets”.
In early February RDIF began a partnership with the BGI Group, China’s leading genome sequencing company, which delivered unique samples of coronavirus tests to Russia.
The state agency Rospotrebnadzor passed the samples to the Federal State Institution of Science, State Scientific Center for Virology and Biotechnology known as Vector, which carried out the first testing on live virus samples, having previously been tested on more than 1 million people in China, the RDIF says. The RDIF is now actively co-operating with Rospotrebnadzor on registration of tests produced by BGI and other companies in Russia.
RDIF, through a network of international partnerships, has created an Expertise Centre for testing and implementing international practices to combat coronavirus, which will take into account the experience of Russia and foreign countries.
“The international experience in responding to the threat has been analysed, with the best technological solutions selected at each stage to combat the virus, and the accumulated information has been transferred to Rospotrebnadzor and Coordinating Council for combating coronavirus under the Government of the Russian Federation,” the RDIF said.