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21 December 2020

The first Polish test to distinguish between COVID-19 and flu to be placed on the market

The collaborative effort of Poznan-based scientists of the Polish Academy of Sciences (PAS) Institute of Bioorganic Chemistry, as well as Polpharma and Medicofarma teams, has led to another breakthrough. The MediPAN-COVID+Flu test will be placed on the market at the beginning of 2021, offering a simple, quick and reliable way to distinguish between SARS CoV 2 and influenza virus infections. It is the first Polish differential genetic test available at a price similar to that of a COVID-19-only assay. The widespread use of the differential test will be key if the flu season overlaps with the third wave of the pandemic. The accumulation of cases may be a heavy burden for the healthcare system, while quick and accurate diagnosis will help to choose the right treatment. COVID-19 and the flu share many similar symptoms, but require completely different management. Since only a single sample needs to be collected, patients do not have to visit multiple testing sites. The possibility to differentiate between two viruses using a single process will make diagnosticians’ work faster and streamline the use of laboratory equipment.

The latest achievement by scientists from the PAS Institute of Bioorganic Chemistry and the Polish companies Polpharma, Medicofarma Future Synthesis and A&A Biotechnology, is a direct response to the needs of the public during the pandemic.

The SARS-CoV-2 and influenza viruses cause two different diseases whose symptoms may be similar but which require completely different management. At the same time, the winter season is characterized by seasonal spikes in infections, also including cases caused by other types of viruses. The development of a differential test thus comes as a natural research interest for scientists from Poznan.


The characteristic features of the MediPAN-COVID+Flu test

The MediPAN-COVID+Flu genetic test detects two SARS-CoV-2-specific genes and one specific gene each for influenza type A and B. The kit has been designed so that SARS-CoV-2 and the flu virus can be detected in a single reaction well. At the same time, it is equipped with swab accuracy control to avoid false negative results due to incorrect sampling.


What makes the test easy to use?

  • Short reaction time (ca. 1 hour),
  • Highly sensitive virus detection reactions (>99%),
  • Simple interpretation of the result,
  • Suitability for use with the same diagnostic equipment as tests which only detect SARS-CoV-2.

This is the second time this year that cooperation between the PAS, Polpharma and Medicofarma has shown that creative combination of scientific knowledge and business process expertise can lead to the creation of top quality products. It is important to note that besides its diagnostic value, understood as the ability to quickly detect the right disease, the MediPAN-COVID+Flu test fits perfectly well with WHO recommendations which stress the necessity to choose multiplex PCR tests for simultaneous detection of the influenza and SARS-CoV-2 viruses to ensure efficient use of reagents, consumables and staff working time.


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