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Fast test detects variety of viruses

HUBBARD — A biotech firm that developed a sub-hour test to detect COVID-19 has a patent pending on the new technology its developer said has far greater application to detect other harmful viruses.

The initial focus of the enzyme-based test was to rapidly detect the novel coronavirus, but it quickly became obvious to developer Bret Barnhizer it could be customized for other viruses, including HIV, HPV, hepatitis, MERS and SARS-1.

Barnhizer is president and CEO of Hubbard’s NanoLogix, where the test was conceived and developed based on a diagnostic test the company created to detect bacteria infections.

What caused NanoLogix to customize the test to viral infections was the Ebola wave in 2014 in West Africa.

An additional aspect of the test is for the home test configuration, Barnhizer anticipates 30-minute results using a nasopharyngeal swab sample or saliva.

The nasopharynx is the upper part of the throat behind the nose.

“We did a little bit more

reconfiguration of the home test, and rather than just one hour, a sub-hour test, it looks like we can end up with a nasal swab or saliva and get results in 30 minutes,” Barnhizer said. “That’s huge because that is something that someone can do at home.”

The test provides rapid, accurate and sensitive detection and identification of the virus using the antibody for COVID-19, looking for and registering attributes of the virus’spiked protein, the developers said. Results are ready within an hour compared to three to five days with other tests.

“We are extremely excited over this technology development, as it is a novel approach in diagnostics that provides a solution to the inherent problems with false positives and false negatives present in those tests currently being used in the war against COVID-19,” said Jonathan Faro, chief medical officer for NanoLogix.

The patent application was filed under a new program with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office that gives priority to applications covering a product or process to related to COVID-19. The program waives certain fees connected to prioritized examinations, and its goal is to have disposition of the application in less than a year.

To bring the test to market, it’s likely a company would need to license the technology from NanoLogix. It’s headquarters on North Main Street does not have the scale to manufacture the test.

rselak@tribtoday.com

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