With the surge in daily COVID-19 cases governments and public health agencies around the globe are instructing for mass testing using “Rapid Antigen Testing Kits”. Workflow for these rapid tests is very simple and typically involve mixing nasal or throat swabs with liquid on a paper strip and results are displayed as a line similar to commonly used pregnancy kits. With these test kits results can be generated within half an hour. Such tests are thought of as tests of infectiousness, and not of infection. They can detect only high viral loads, so they will miss many people with lower levels of the SARS-CoV-2 virus. But the hope is that they will help to curb the pandemic by quickly identifying the most contagious people, who might otherwise unknowingly pass on the virus.
On the contrary, regular PCR or any other NAAT test gives a confirmatory result as it detects the nucleic acid of the COVID-19 virus. Furthermore, these tests are very specific and there are very less chances of getting false positive or false negative results. But limitation with these tests is that they are time consuming. A regular public health laboratory will take anywhere between 48-72hrs to generate RT-PCR test results. Again, here as we are delaying the test results, we are increasing the chances of spread of infection.
At CardiAI Labs we expedite the operation and process flow, and we are able to generate results in less than 4 hrs. With our robust operational and organizational proficiencies, we are able to deliver the tests results to client in a very short time duration. Our test runs follow same process flow i.e. RNA extraction which takes about 15-20 mins, and “PCR Thermocycler time” takes 30- 65 minutes (depending upon assay we use). Our “Rapid” test essentially is a “Rapid Molecular PCR Test” but technically they are same as regular PCR or NAAT test. We use both LDT and other Health Canada approved test kits e.g. Triplelock or BioMemes etc. Our tests are clinically validated and same as DynaLife or APL lab’s PCR test. CardiAI’s LDT i.e. CoviLamp PCR test has been validation by CLIA labs (USA), CPSA scientific board and by University of Calgary scientists. CoviLamp has a viral detection limit of 3.125 copies/microliter which is much lower than the traditional PCR assays.
Due to our operational and technological innovations, we are able to deliver the results “rapidly”, and hence often get it called as “Rapid test”. Furthermore, our team is working on improving the test processing time to 20 mins which will help clear backlogs at labs across the world.
Dr. Sumrita Bhat
(Research and Development Scientist)