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Avacta pauses sale of antigen test due to reduced sensitivity against Omicron

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By Samuel Indyk – Avacta Group (LON:AVCT) has announced it has paused the sale of its AffiDX antigen test as it does not perform as well against Omicron as previous variants.

In a statement to the London Stock Exchange, the AIM-listed company said that laboratory analysis indicates that the sensitivity of the test is reduced at lower viral loads when compared with the sensitivity of the test with previous SARS-CoV-2 variants.

The lateral flow test contains the company’s proprietary Affirmer reagent and a commercially available antibody. The data show that the reagent in the test detects the Omicron variant with the same sensitivity as the Delta variant and it is the performance of the antibody, which the Affirmer is paired in the test, that has been affected by the additional Omicron mutations.

The company has therefore independently decided to pause sales of the AffiDX antigen test whilst it replaces the antibody in the product to ensure that its performance with the Omicron variant matches the performance with the previous mutations.

“As a responsible business, we set very high standards for ourselves and our products and have continually kept the performance of the AffiDX antigen test under review as new SARS-CoV-2 variants have arisen,” Avacta Group Chief Executive Alastair Smith said. “Our determination to only provide high quality, high performance diagnostic tests has led us to the correct decision to pause all marketing of the AffiDX lateral flow antigen test.”

Avacta has not been able to market the product in the UK since October 2021 in any case, due to updated regulations on coronavirus tests that came into effect on 1st November.

The company had previously said that the antigen test was shown to detect the Omicron variant of the virus in patient samples in a small clinical study. 

At 08:43GMT, Avacta Group shares were trading lower by 22.4% at 90.00 pence per share.

Avacta pauses sale of antigen test due to reduced sensitivity against Omicron

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