Richmond Research Institute partnering to ensure faster COVID-19 point of care testing and longer-term immunity studies
London-based academic research unit, Richmond Research Institute (RRI) is working in collaboration with medical device manufacturers to:
• Develop COVID-19 antigen point of care tests that report results faster than current goldstandard Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) testing • Research the effects of the Immunoglobulin G (IgG) and Immunoglobulin M (IgM) antibodies that develop in infected patients. Enabling a greater understanding of whether – and for how long - infected individuals remain immune to the virus.
The objectives of this focus are to ensure that the spread of infection can be more effectively prevented within the Richmond Pharmacology and RRI organisations, enabling day-to-day clinical research activity to continue as safely and efficiently as possible. Expediting the results of antigen testing will also enable other organisations and wider society to identify infectious individuals, instantly ensuring they are isolated and cared for appropriately.
Additionally, there is uncertainty about to what extent individuals who present with IgG and IgM antibodies are immune from contracting COVID-19 again. Research into COVID-19 immunity is important to assist authorities to understand which professionals are safe to interact with the public and infected patients, at a lower risk to their own health.
How Richmond Pharmacology and the RRI are testing staff and research participants
RRI quickly initiated COVID-19 testing for staff, research participants, and visitors to Richmond Pharmacology. We are committed to continue to collect and analyse test results to understand the longterm immunity using tests allowing us to quantify effects of the IgM and IgG antibodies over time.
Two tests are currently being conducted within Richmond Pharmacology and the RRI: the COVID-19 Rapid Test Kit (RAPG-COV-019) and the PCR test.
Types of COVID-19 tests – and how they are used
The PCR test is the gold standard within the industry. It measures whether the COVID-19 virus is present in a person’s system. The results currently take a minimum of 24 hours and an individual could become infected between taking the test and receiving the results. This delay makes it difficult to control the spread of infection.
The RAPG-COV-019 kit indicates whether someone has had the virus and is potentially immune. It measures Immunoglobulin G (IgG) and Immunoglobulin M (IgM) - antibodies produced by the body as it fights the virus. Results are available within 10 minutes. RAPG-COV-019 tests can be used to identify those who have immunity.
In addition, it is important to analyse tests which show that a person is PCR positive but IgM/IgG negative. These individuals have contracted the virus but have no antibodies to fight off the infection. They may need to be hospitalised in order to receive the correct medical care. Most importantly they need to be isolated, so they do not spread the infection.
Current testing does not help to reduce the spread of the infection due to the time taken to process the results. In the long term an antigen test is needed that is similar to those used to detect hepatitis. Antigen tests should be specific, fast, and the answer given at the point of care.
Richmond Research Institute are working with medical device manufacturers to study new tests which produce fast and accurate results. Meanwhile, we will continue using PCR to gather long term repeat data.
1. About the Richmond Research Institute (RRI) The Richmond Research Institute is an independent, academic research unit dedicated to understanding and improving the safety of pharmaceuticals. It is a not-for-profit affiliate of Richmond Pharmacology, a world-leading clinical research organisation based in London Bridge 2. Richmond Pharmacology CEO, Jorg Taubel is available to provide further detail to you on the work of the Institute, COVID-19 testing research and the limitations of the current diagnostic frameworks being used.
Contact Press Team: Ian Perrin on firstname.lastname@example.org or 020 7340 1150.
Further detail on COVID-19 testing
COVID-19 Rapid Test Kit (RAPG-COV-019)
The RAPG-COV-019 kit by Biopanda Reagents detects antibodies that our bodies produce in response to viral material. Specifically, it looks for two different antibodies:
• Immunoglobulin G (IgG) – produced specifically in response to SARS-CoV-2 • Immunoglobulin M (IgM) – more generically produced during an infection
These can be measured in blood. Usually, it takes five to 10 days for these antibodies to become measurable in blood. Over time, IgM levels will drop, while IgG levels will increase and peak at around 30 days. This allows us to measure if people had a coronavirus infection. The challenge with these tests is that they are not sensitive or specific; therefore, another coronavirus infection may cause a positive test result. To learn more about how the RAPG-COV-019 kit works visit Biopanda Reagents.
Polymerase Chain Reaction
A Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) test measures whether the mucus membrane in the nose and throat contains SARS-CoV-2 RNA. These types of viruses insert their RNA into the cells of the host. PCR tests are considered the gold standard to monitor for the presence of the virus. Currently, we do not know whether this means people are contagious after a COVID-19 infection.
Turnaround for PCR testing is a minimum of 24 hours. PCR tests require specialist tools and dedicated lab facilities to produce accurate results. This makes the development of viable quick tests which scan for antibodies desirable.
- Richmond Research Institute
- Richmond Research Institute