The Synevo laboratory, part of the Swedish holding Medicover, has launched PCR tests that detect British and South African coronavirus (COVID-19) strains, including their currently known mutations.
According to Synevo’s press release, new PCR tests are carried out on new generation equipment and reagents from the U.S. company Abbott.
Investments in equipment for testing (two analyzers) amounted to more than EUR 200,000.
The tests detect the virus at the earliest stages of the disease, when the virus cells are still very little in the body, while other test systems will still give false negative results, although the person is already sick.
According to Synevo Development Director Mykola Butenko, new PCR tests allow detecting British and South African COVID-19 strains with the same accuracy as the previous COVID-19 strains.
In addition, new PCR tests, in addition to detecting COVID-19, can determine the viral load of SARS-CoV-2 on the body and the likely stage of the disease.
“We have received official confirmation from the head office of Abbott in the United States that new PCR tests detect two new strains of coronavirus: British and South African. These results were obtained by Abbott in clinical trials, and the reagents have already received international FDA accreditation,” Butenko said in a press release.
Synevo said that Abbott’s PCR tests are one of the most reliable in the world, their sensitivity is only 100 copies per 1 ml of biomaterial, while the sensitivity of other PCR tests for COVID-19 available on the Ukrainian market, from 400 copies and higher. This sensitivity allows almost completely eliminate false negative results.
Synevo is Ukraine’s largest network of medical laboratories, a division of the Swedish medical holding Medicover. The Synevo network consists of more than 300 laboratory centers operating in more than 115 cities throughout Ukraine, as well as seven laboratories in which more than 1,500 types of tests are performed.
Synevo Laboratory has launched a specialized COVID center in Kyiv to conduct a complex of research on COVID-19, investments in it exceeded EUR 300,000.
According to a press release from the company, the Synevo COVID Center includes a high-tech laboratory for performing COVID-19 tests by PCR, as well as a specially equipped department for customer service and sampling for coronavirus disease research.
“The COVID-19 epidemic is gaining momentum, and the demand for mass testing of the population is growing every day. Given the expected scale of testing, we have decided to open a specialized COVID center with a separate laboratory that will specialize exclusively in PCR testing for COVID-19,” Mykola Butenko, the director for development at Synevo, said.
The company plans to soon launch PCR testing in other branches throughout Ukraine.
“For now, the test can be passed in the COVID center in Kyiv. It is located at 2/58 Pivnichna Street. But, very soon, we plan to launch testing in most branches throughout Ukraine,” press secretary of the company Viktoria Ilinska said on Facebook.
PCR testing for COVID-19 at the Synevo COVID center will be performed using reagents from BAG Diagnostics (Germany).
In addition, from November, Synevo plans to launch tests on automatic equipment and reagents from Abbott (the United States).
The Synevo medical laboratory plans to launch innovative rapid tests for detecting the COVID-19 antigen declared by WHO in Ukraine in the coming weeks.
Mykola Butenko, the director of development at Synevo, told Interfax-Ukraine that at present, the company has brought an experimental batch of Austrian-made tests to Ukraine and is finishing their “internal” testing.
“Next week, we are already waiting for the delivery of these tests to launch testing for customers. The first delivery will be about 8,000 systems. If necessary, the manufacturer is ready to fully cover the needs of our network for these test systems, so tests will be performed across the entire Synevo network in Ukraine,” he said.
According to Butenko, the test manufacturer is a well-known Austrian company that specializes in the production of rapid tests for laboratory diagnostics. The test systems have passed clinical trials and are certified according to international standards.
“The huge advantage of these rapid tests is that their sensitivity is 97%, and the result will be ready in 15-30 minutes. Therefore, the use of such test systems for the COVID-19 antigen allows mass screening testing in a short time, which is very valuable in the conditions of uncontrolled growth of the epidemic,” he added.
The cost of the declared express tests for COVID-19 antigen in the Synevo network is about UAH 800.
Synevo, part of Sweden’s Medicover holding, has handed over the COVID-19 diagnostic equipment using PCR (Polymerase Chain Reaction) tests – the most reliable method for diagnosing this coronavirus disease, to the Public Health Center, Synevo Development Director Mykola Butenko said at a video press conference at Interfax-Ukraine on Tuesday.
The equipment made by Swiss Roche will allow increasing the speed and the number of COVID-19 tests and will significantly increase the accuracy of test results, removing human element from the process.
The analyzer’s capacities are 96 tests per hour. Different types of biomaterial (blood, saliva, cerebrospinal fluid and others) can be tested.
The equipment has already been delivered by Synevo to the virology reference laboratory of the Public Health Center in Kyiv, which will perform COVID-19 testing.
“In Ukraine, because of the high cost of equipment, this initial stage is usually tested manually by laboratory staff. This limits the speed and number of tests performed. Using the new analyzer will minimize the human factor. As a result, we will significantly increase the number of tests performed and eliminate the risk of human error,” Butenko said.
The use of new equipment will increase the safety of the laboratory staff, since the apparatus performs the process of RNA extraction from the biomaterial automatically, therefore, the laboratory staff will no longer have to contact samples of potentially infected biomaterial.
To launch the analyzer, representatives of Roche Diagnostics in Ukraine will be involved in the startup of the equipment, as well as in special training for employees of the Public Health Center’s laboratory how to use the equipment.
The PCR method directly detects DNA or virus RNA in the biomaterial, therefore this method is the most reliable in the world for the diagnosis of COVID-19.