CIFGA LABORATORY COLLABORATES IN THE DEVELOPMENT OF TWO KITS BASED ON GENETIC ANALYSIS FOR THE DETECTION OF COVID-19

The laboratory based in Galicia works against the clock in the design of rapid diagnostic systems.

LUGO. CIFGA laboratory - recently incorporated under the management of the AMSlab business group - collaborates in the detection of the SARS-CoV-2 virus together with Xenotechs - a company specialized in molecular biology that is also part of the same group - through the development of two kits based on genetic analysis. One of them, based on the Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) that allows small DNA fragments to be amplified to detect the specific viral RNA causative of COVID-19, would be intended for use in laboratories. The other project would be aimed at Health Centers, care centers and residences. In the latter case, it is a rapid colorimetric detection kit that can be used anywhere and in any condition. Another advantage of this method is that it can be carried out by anyone, as it will not require technical knowledge or sophisticated equipment to perform the test.

CIFGA's main activity resides in the production of reference materials for analysis and research within the agri-food, textile and cosmetic sectors, although it already has experience in the manufacture of kits. CIFGA Laboratory has participated in the manufacture of the ExoGAG Kit, the new product from the biotechnology company Nasasbiotech that allows the isolation of exosomes for biomarker research and that facilitates the work of the oncologist when it comes to tracking his patients through liquid biopsy.

Nasasbiotech's activity focuses on the development of new clinical solutions in liquid biopsy to improve cancer diagnosis, prognosis, and treatment.

This new kit arises from the development of a joint patent of Nasasbiotech with FIDIS (Fundación Instituto de Investigación Sanitaria), Universidad de Santiago de Compostela (USC) and Servicio Galego de Saúde (SERGAS).

The rest of the AMSlab Group companies are also working in the development of solutions that mitigate the effects of this pandemic. Another line of research rests on AMSbiopharma, which offers analytical solutions to companies in the chemical, pharmaceutical and biopharmaceutical industries. AMSbiopharma is currently working to explore the use of proteomics in order to monitor the treatment of COVID-19 positive patients.

For its part, AMSlab supports the textile industry in the development of new materials that are suitable for the manufacture of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), especially reusable hygienic masks. AMSlab investigates, together with the Tecnicolor dry cleaner, on a new fabric washable at high temperatures that would allow a complete disinfection to extend the life of the mask. The company also carries out microbiological tests to verify the correct disinfection of the material. With this solution, the cost per mask is considerably reduced and alleviates the current situation due to the fact that it is no longer single use.

With all this, and in accordance with Royal Decree-Law 10/2020, the habitual activity of the Galician biotech is transformed to support the textile industry in the manufacture of hygienic / sanitary material, offering analyzes for the quality control of this type of tissue.

It is extraordinary how the Business Group is facing this emergency situation to try to align the knowledge, experience and available resources at the moment with the R&D activities that are needed and contribute to mitigate this situation and provide help as far as possible to overcome this unprecedent status ", insures Eva Cagide, head of the CIFGA R&D department.

The current health crisis caused by the coronavirus means that the calls from the Public Administration to the collaboration of the biotechnology sector, among many others, are continuous. Thus, the biotechnology community increases its efforts to find, in the short term, effective solutions to this health emergency.

These new developments will be fully available to public administrations and will be tools that will help the health system to combat the spread of this SARS-CoV-2 virus, which develops the COVID19 disease. These initiatives are included in the recent call of the Galician Innovation Agency (GAIN) to identify all the capacities of the Galician Innovation System in the fight against the new coronavirus.

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