PH biotech firm to distribute Covid-19 test kit that detects antibodies

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Philippine biotech company IP-Biotech has entered into an exclusive partnership with Singapore-based Tembusu Healthcare and US-based GenScript Biotech Corporation, which will allow IP Biotech to distribute a test kit designed to measure the levels of neutralizing antibodies in recovered Covid-19 patients.

The newly-developed cPass SARS CoV-2 Neutralization Antibody Detection Kit (cPass sVNT Kit) is an essential component in the national testing process to measure neutralizing antibodies in the population. This may help scientists to research if those previously infected are developing immunity to reinfection.

The cPass sVNT kit is the first “rapid” test kit that can detect neutralizing antibodies (NAbs). NAbs refer to a specific type of antibody that has been shown to interfere with virus re-infection and may be a good indicator of potential immunity against Covid-19. NAbs have been shown to be indicative of immunity in other viral infections.

Results from the cPass sVNT kit can be determined in under an hour in most clinical and laboratory settings. Because the testing method employed by the cPass sVNT kit does not require the use of live virus cells to test for neutralizing antibodies, unlike commonly used traditional methods, the kit does not require specialized biosafety containment measures to be deployed — which drastically simplifies and shortens the testing process while lowering associated costs.

Co-developed by Duke-NUS Medical School Singapore, Singapore’s Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR), and GenScript Biotech Corporation, the cPass sVNT test kit received FDA approval for commercial use in the Philippines last August.

The kit has also been authorized for emergency use in Singapore and is currently under review for emergency use authorization in the United States and Canada.

The partnership by IP-Biotech, Tembusu Healthcare, and GenScript Biotech Corporation authorizes IP Biotech to be the Philippines’ sole distributor of the cPass sVNT kit.

The cPass sVNT kit can be used to measure the inhibition activity of the convalescent plasma and the efficacy of vaccines to promote the development of neutralizing antibodies. In convalescent serology studies, the cPass sVNT kit can not only determine who has been previously infected, but also if they have neutralizing antibodies.

The development also makes research relevant to Covid-19 investigations, sero-prevalence survey, herd immunity, longevity of protecting neutralizing antibodies, and efficacy of different vaccine candidates and treatments, safer, more accessible, and more inclusive within the medical and scientific community.

“As studies and clinical trials on potential vaccines and treatments progress around the world, we expect the cPass sVNT test kit to play an instrumental role in measuring and analyzing immunity to SARS CoV-2,” said Linfa Wang, director of the Program in Emerging Infectious Diseases at Duke-NUS Medical School who led the team that developed the cPass sVNT kit said

“The Philippines now has the most confirmed Covid-19 cases across South East Asia. We aim to make the cPass SARS CoV-2 Neutralization Antibody Detection Kit available to communities in the Philippines by partnering with IP-Biotech and Tembusu Healthcare. We are joining forces to make full use of our mutual capabilities, expertise, and resources which will help us to serve communities in the Philippines better,” said Dawn Lee, sales director of Asia Pacific Region at GenScript.

“The introduction of cPass is timely given the various Phase-3 clinical trials that are about to commence in the Philippines for Covid-19 vaccines. We will use cPass to analyze the level of neutralizing antibodies in the blood of volunteers of our clinical trials. cPass can also be used as a layer of analysis prior to the use of convalescent plasma to ensure presence and satisfactory levels of neutralizing antibodies. This will truly serve an important purpose for the Philippine healthcare system and society as a whole.”

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