EKF Diagnostics has announced that the novel viral transport media PrimeStore MTM (Molecular Transport Medium) has been successfully evaluated for effective SARS-CoV-2 inactivation in a new study published by Public Health England (PHE). To work safely with live SARS-CoV-2 samples requires the use of high-containment laboratories. However, after inactivation SARS-CoV-2 material can be handled at a lower containment level, allowing more laboratories to undertake testing and thereby increasing Covid-19 testing capacity.
The PHE study evaluated numerous commercially available reagents and laboratory formulations commonly used for viral inactivation protocols by public health agencies and research laboratories globally. All the reagents tested have been used during the current pandemic for sample transportation and subsequent molecular processing. A total of 23 commercial reagents designed for virus inactivation, clinical sample transportation and nucleic acid extraction were assessed by PHE for their ability to inactivate SARS-CoV-2.
The study used TCID50 and blind passage techniques to test for any infectious virus still recoverable from all samples treated with the inactivation reagents. Notably, the study showed that PrimeStore MTM was the only commercially available transport reagent from the many tested from which no residual virus was detectable by either TCID50 or by the passaging of treated purified sample. This demonstrates the efficacy and safety of PrimeStore MTM in inactivating live SARS-CoV-2 samples whilst maintaining the ability to detect the target viral RNA.
In addition to this successful PHE evaluation of its effectiveness at deactivating SARS-CoV-2, PrimeStore MTM is also an FDA cleared and CE-IVD marked sample collection device. It is already well proven, with millions of tubes sold globally for the inactivation and transportation of many high consequence pathogens. Therefore, this patented transport media, manufactured by EKF and confirmed by PHE to enable safe sample handling of clinical samples, can help to increase Covid-19 testing capacity.
Due to PrimeStore MTM’s advantages over generic VTM and UTM (viral and universal transport media) products, EKF has recently won a number of significant tenders with commercial partners involved in healthcare, education and industry to supply safe sample collection kits for Covid-19 testing programmes. Amongst these commercial partners, EKF is now working with the University of Leicester for its student Covid-19 screening programme, and international molecular diagnostics group, Yourgene Health, to supply kits to their customer base which includes public schools, universities and corporations. Another partner is Source BioScience which provides ISO:15189 laboratory testing services for the NHS and private healthcare.