Shares in biotherapeutics and reagents company Avacta (AVCT:AIM) surged 22% to 189p on Tuesday after clinical trials for its rapid Covid-19 antigen test showed excellent progress.

The UK and EU studies used patient samples with known viral loads confirmed by PCR (polymerase chain reaction) test, which is considered the gold standard of Covid-19 virus testing.

Avacta’s rapid lateral flow antigen test, which looks to identify the body’s immune response to the presence of the virus correctly identified 29 out of 30 positive samples (96.7%) and 100% of the 26 negative samples.

The fact that the test identified all negative samples is an important result because falsely identifying people who are negative as positive would create a ‘major burden on follow up testing resources and result in a significant socio-economic cost of unnecessarily isolating people’ the company noted.

Chief executive Alastair Smith commented, ‘These data from the first clinical studies will allow us to quickly progress with confidence into the full clinical validation of the test, manufactured at scale, at our clinical trial sites in the UK and the EU.’

Subject to the results being replicated in the larger studies Avacta is aiming to bring the test to market in Europe around the end of the first quarter of the year.

LATERAL FLOW ANIBODY TESTING SUCCESS

In separate news today, the UK Rapid Test Consortium (UK-RTC) said that a study of four lateral flow rapid antibody tests showed accuracy above 92%.

Medical diagnostics company Omega Diagnostics’ (ODX:AIM) AbC-19 TM Rapid Test was part of the study and showed the highest accuracy of 97.3%, pushing its shares up 2.5% to 82p.

Leading international developer and manufacturer of high quality lateral flow tests, Abingdon Health (ABDX:AIM), which came to the market on 15 December and is the lead partner to the UK-RTC also saw demand for its shares on the positive news, rising 6.7% to 97p.

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Issue Date: 16 Feb 2021