APTAKIT:  Rapid, multiplex, signal-enhanced, aptamer-based, lateral flow test for SARS-CoV-2 detection in human and animal samples
Communications Disseminations 13.04.2021

APTAKIT: Rapid, multiplex, signal-enhanced, aptamer-based, lateral flow test for SARS-CoV-2 detection in human and animal samples


APTAKIT video presentation

Despite the fact that antigen rapid tests (Ag-RDT) have revealed themselves as an useful diagnostic method, they require high viral loads in early phases of infection[1],[2],[3],[4],[5]. This limits their diagnostic potential and, to date, there are no Ag-RDT specifically authorized for asymptomatic testing, even when the role of asymptomatic and super-spread hosts is well reported[6],[7],[8],[9]. For those cases, PCR remains as the gold standard, even when this method is not enough to contain disease spread due its requirements (time, skilled personnel, specific reagents, etc). Therefore, improved Ag-RDT test able to accurately detect asymptomatic cases are needed.

In addition, other diagnostic issues remain unsolved. SARS-CoV-2 outbreak has a zoonotic origin, which means that transmission between different species is possible and will remain as a potential threat in the future. Therefore, even if the pandemic remitted, we would need novel diagnostic methods to identify natural reservoirs of the virus in different species, especially those which interact with humans and those economically exploitable.

Lincbiotech has developed high-affinity aptamers to the Spike and Nucleocpaside protein and a rapid viral protein detection test for SARS-CoV-2 in nasal swaps and it intends to improve this technology to address these two unmet needs:

  1. The development and validation in clinical settings of a novel test en saliva samples (Aptakit) with high sensitivity and specificity, based on aptamer-based signal enhancement techniques and multiple proteins detection.
  2. The adaptation of this technology to the detection of SARS-CoV-2 in animal samples, with veterinary purposes, thus contributing to avoid future outbreaks.

Should the objectives of this project are successfully achieved, we will open the door to use these tests as a true “mass detection weapon” to fight against the transmission of the disease, avoid future outbreaks and facilitate economic recovery.

[1] Porte L, et al. Evaluation of a novel antigen-based rapid detection test for the diagnosis of SARS-CoV-2 in respiratory samples. Int J Infect Dis. 2020;99:328-333.

[2] DiaoB, etal. Diagnosis of Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2 Infection by Detection of Nucleocapsid Protein. medRxiv. 2020:2020.03.07.20032524.

[3] Weitzel T, et al. Head-to-head comparison of four antigen-based rapid detection tests for the diagnosis of SARS-CoV-2 in respiratory samples. bioRxiv. 2020:2020.05.27.119255.

[4] Hendrik Gremmels, et al. Real-life validation of the Panbio COVID-19 Antigen Rapid Test (Abbott) in community-dwelling subjects with symptoms of potential SARS-CoV-2 infection medRxiv 2020.10.16.20214189.

[5] Linares M, et al. Panbio antigen rapid test is reliable to diagnose SARS-CoV-2 infection in the first 7 days after the onset of symptoms [published online ahead of print, 2020 Oct 16]. J Clin Virol. 2020;133:104659.

[6] Chin WCB, Bouffanais R. Spatial super-spreaders and super-susceptibles in human movement networks. Sci Rep. 2020 Oct 29;10(1):18642.

[7] O’Donoghue A, et al. Reopening Businesses and Risk of COVID-19 Transmission. medRxiv 2020.05.24.20112110

[8] Gómez-Carballa A, et al. Mapping genome variation of SARS-CoV-2 worldwide highlights the impact of COVID-19 super-spreaders. Genome Res. 2020 Oct;30(10):1434-1448.

[9] Lin J, et al. A super-spreader of COVID-19 in Ningbo city in China. J Infect Public Health. 2020 Jul;13(7):935-937.