Thursday June 18, 2020 0 comments
WHEAT RIDGE -- Verdosome, a privately-held molecular testing laboratory with principal operations in Wheat Ridge, today announced it has successfully completed validation of a saliva-based test for SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19.
With this milestone accomplished, the company said it expects to immediately make testing services available on a limited basis.
The company intends to offer testing initially to businesses, government offices, long-term care facilities and similar environments where larger numbers of individuals are concentrated in close quarters.
Verdosome said there is evidence suggesting that saliva testing offers a high degree of accuracy. Research led by the Yale School of Public Health has found that "Saliva is more sensitive for SARS-CoV-2 detection in COVID-19 patients than nasopharyngeal swabs."
A saliva-based process differs in other ways from nasal swab testing. It does not have the discomfort often associated with nasal swabs, and since specimens can be collected by individuals without the assistance of medical professionals, it can be administered in a way that is more consistent with guidelines for social distancing and that reduces the use of personal protective equipment.
For patients not capable of giving saliva samples, Verdosome also provides nasal swab testing using the Agena Bioscience kit which is available under the U.S. FDA's Emergency Use Authorization program.
Verdosome exclusively uses the Agena Bioscience MassARRAY System, which uses a high-throughput mass spectrometer rather than the qPCR equipment more frequently used today.
This technology offers a high degree of precision. Verdosome has demonstrated a limit of detection as low as 10 genomic copies per reaction. Moreover, the reagents used by Verdosome's equipment are commonly available and different than those used by qPCR devices, so there may be less exposure to potential supply chain issues like those that have been impacting qPCR test providers.
Currently, Verdosome has the capacity to process approximately 2,500 specimens per week, though management is working to secure investment to expand capacity to 30,000 tests per week.
They are also seeking grant funding from the state of Colorado to create as many as 40 full-time jobs, implement capital improvements and promote the Denver community as a center for medical innovation.