August 29, 2020
Pharmact Develops Simple, New Antigen Mouthwash Test for Home Use.
At the beginning of March, Pharmact launched its highly sensitive rapid antibody test BELTEST-IT COV-2. The MedTech company, which specializes in qualitative point-of-care rapid in vitro diagnostic tests, has been working for several months on the development of a new antigen test BELMONITOR COV-2: “This easy-to-use mouthwash shows potentially infected persons within minutes whether they have been infected with the SARS-COV-2 virus,” explains Dr. Gunther Burgard, Medical Director of Pharmact, emphasizing: “This enables us to interrupt infection chains even faster, more reliably and more easily and to effectively contain the dynamics of the virus. The test has further advantages. Due to the uncomplicated handling, anyone can perform this simple, cost-effective test. Laboratory technology, trained personnel or strict protective measures are unnecessary. “We will work closely with regulatory authorities to obtain proper authorization to be able to offer BELMONITOR COV-2 as a home test. With this, we want to give citizens the possibility to take their own healthcare into their own hands because COVID-19 will accompany us in our everyday life for a long time,” adds Eric Schaber, CEO of Pharmact. Pending regulatory authorization, the company plans to launch the test in October 2020.
Start of a new technology
The most common entry point for an infection with the SARS-CoV-2 virus is the mouth-throat-nasal cavity. Immediately after entry, the virus load in these areas increases continuously. Before the first clinical symptoms appear, the virus concentration is already so high that simple gargling combined with a nasal swab test is sufficient to obtain sufficient viral material. “This combined mouthwash-swab technique is new in medicine,” Dr. Burgard emphasizes. “At present, the laboratory PCR test is still considered the gold standard for SARS CoV-2 detection. However, in science sometimes one has to break up existing structures and rethink in order to achieve better results and simpler solutions. This is how we came up with the idea that a mouth and throat lavage combined with a nasal swab, which can be performed at any time and any place, covers much larger areas and detects SARS-CoV-2 more reliably than the common swab test”. BELMONITOR COV-2 could, for example, be suitable for screening nursing staff or other high-risk groups. In particular, it can reliably identify infected persons wherever people congregate.
Gargle once, please!
Whether for use at the family doctor’s office, at events, at the airport, at the daycare center, or at home, taking the BELMONITOR COV-2 test is very easy. After users have rinsed the supplied liquid around in their mouths for about 30 seconds, gargled and spit it out into a special container, they take a swab sample from their nasal passages. The swab is then whisked with the mouth rinsing solution. Finally, a solution of genetically engineered binding proteins is added. Within a few minutes, a specific color reaction indicates infection with SARS-CoV-2. The correct function of the test is automatically detected. “This not only allows users to check themselves, but also to carry out mass tests on people returning from trips, system-relevant persons, and concert or stadium visitors quickly and easily,” Dr. Burgard concludes. A single set will be available from both the Pharmact Shop and independent retailers.