Monday, May 4, 2020 / by Ken Couture
It’s been just over 3 months since the first case of the coronavirus was discovered in the U.S.
Now, a Las Vegas-based company has developed a test that may prove essential in the fight against it.
“We have the manufacturing capacity to do at least 150,000 units a week,” said Las Vegas resident Evan Louie, who is CEO of Avidium Labs. His team has developed an FDA Emergency Use Authorized, or EUA, antibody test, which uses a simple drop of blood to determine whether a person has been previously infected.
“And they can detect the antibody in the people who may have been exposed or may have been infected with the virus,” said Dr. Brian Thomas Le, Avidium Labs Chief Medical Officer.
Unlike with the nasal swab test, which requires analysis in a lab, the Avidium test results are available in as little as five minutes, right at the point of care. Diagnostic accuracy was confirmed here in Nevada, in California, and at ground zero in New York at SUNY Downstate Hospital, which treats only COVID-positive patients.
“You know, I was happy to obviously do this because of the game-changing capabilities of detection that it allows for,” said Dr. Prem Premsrirut, who grew up in Las Vegas and headed the New York research.
She says one of the eventual goals will be to clone the antibodies.
“We can look for the most effective antibodies and then model a therapy that can then be generated at mass scale and then utilized as a therapy,” said Dr. Premsrirut.
She says in the short-term, the rapid antibody test will likely be used in tandem with molecular testing. It will help to determine if doctors and nurses who’ve been infected are safe to return to work.
Groundbreaking for sure, and it will undoubtedly help save lives. “We want to partner with our universities, develop that research and development,” said Louie.
Specifically, he says they’d like to work with UNLV’s School of Medicine to start an academic research center specifically for COVID-19.
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