Avacta Group PLC (LON:AVCT) announced it is to launch an affimer-based laboratory test to detect the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein, which causes COVID-19.

The assay uses enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays (ELISAs), research tools used to detect and quantify a target of interest in a wide range of samples, and Affimers, which are engineered proteins used as an alternative to antibodies.

Using the same Affimer reagents that are incorporated into its rapid saliva test developed with Cytiva, Avacta developed in-house a high-performance ELISA laboratory test to detect the SARS-CoV-2 virus.

The biotech will make the ELISA test available as a kit so that researchers globally can use it in their own laboratories to support research into the coronavirus.

The technology is highly specific to the SARS-CoV-2 virus so it cannot be confused with other coronaviruses.

“Whilst this was unexpected, the fact that the test uses the same Affimer reagents as in the rapid point of care diagnostic test and given the analytical results (sensitivity and specificity) observed in the independent evaluation, this is very encouraging with respect to the outcome of its rapid SARS-CoV-2 antigen test designed for mass screening,” analysts at finnCap commented.

Shares added 1% to 166.75p on Monday before close.