In the battle of fighting against COVID-19, a rapid test is crucial to understand the spread of the pandemic.
The Swiss start-up LiVET that originally developed diagnostic tests for respiratory diseases in horses has accelerated their platforms to detect COVID-19 in human samples, establishing a newly incorporated company ender diagnostics ag. Undeniably, ender is a fascinating example of how health developments can be transferred from animal health technology into human health. ender’s isothermal technology utilizes a single temperature for all the steps providing a dramatic decrease of detection time when comparing to the gold standard polymerase-chain-reaction (PCR). In addition, its 30-minute turnover platform can support a relatively small sample size, no need for waiting for a large sample size in a batch. Thus, it is flexible and efficient to operate in laboratories.
Besides the currently sold CE-marked detection kit ender LAB, the company is developing its new outstanding platforms, ender MAS and ender MOBILE, which provide much simplified steps for the sample handling and for point-of-care purpose.
As of 25 June, the cost of all coronavirus tests, including coronavirus and antibody tests, will be covered by the Swiss federal government, implying that people would be more willing to get themselves tested (source: The Federal Council). The Federal Office of Public Health (FOPH) has encouraged people to participate in prevention efforts by installing the SwissCovid app, a proximity tracing system to help in contact tracing and informing people who have spent a certain time with someone who tested positive for coronavirus.
A similar app has been already launched in Switzerland in April by GeoHealthApp, a german start-up supported by HEMEX.
In an estimated 8,000 tests per day carried out in Switzerland, the need for tests is still increasing (source: thelocal.ch). A prediction model of Prof. Dirk Mohr at ETH Zurich suggests that the second pandemic wave would develop more slowly but potentially more deadly (source: Swissinfo). The good news is that it would not overload the Swiss healthcare capacity and we could better prepare in testing and tracing the population. There is no doubt that start-ups such as ender diagnostics play a pivotal role in this battle of COVID-19.
In summary, with the increased availability of advanced testing kits and tracing apps, we can now better monitor the current pandemic status in Switzerland and respond rapidly in order to prevent catastrophic local outbreaks.
HEMEX supports LiVET, ender diagnostics, and GeoHealthApp with clinical, regulatory and market access services.
For more information, see Swissinfo.ch.