Avacta and Integumen Collaborate for Detection of SARS-COV-2 in Wastewater
Avacta Group plc, the developer of Affimer® biotherapeutics and reagents, has entered into a collaboration with Integumen plc (Integumen) to evaluate recently generated Affimer reagents that bind the SARS-COV-2 spike protein for the detection of the coronavirus in waste water, to provide a real-time alert system to warn of localized COVID-19 outbreaks.
Over 60 percent of COVID-19 positive patients had gastrointestinal symptoms, such as diarrhea, nausea and vomiting, and the SARS-COV-2 virus was found in their fecal samples. Sampling wastewater from households may therefore provide an early warning system for localized outbreaks in communities.
Recently, Avacta announced that it had generated a number of highly specific Affimer reagents that detect the SARS-COV-2 virus spike protein for use in diagnostic tests and in neutralizing therapies.
The collaboration with Integumen aims to evaluate some of these Affimer reagents in next-generation sensors, based on the real-time bacteria detection and alert system1 developed by Rinocloud Ltd, a subsidiary of Integumen, with the aim of integrating these sensors into Modern Water plc’s Microtox water contamination system to detect the coronavirus. The award-winning Microtox system, which can detect the presence of contaminating bacteria, virus and toxins, is distributed by Modern Water and has a global footprint of over 3,000 installations. The proposed Affimer sensors would be consumable items to be replaced on a roughly monthly basis.
Once initial testing of the Affimer reagents is completed over the next few weeks, validation of the sensors will be carried out using SARS-COV-2 virus samples in a containment level 3 laboratory at the University of Aberdeen. Upon successful completion of this evaluation, Integumen and Avacta will enter into a supply agreement to allow Integumen to manufacture and commercialize the wastewater detection sensors globally by retrofitting into Microtox systems.