26.3.2020

Press Release: ArcDia’s products would allow testing of all respiratory tract and COVID-19 patients in Finland

Turku Finland, March 26, 2020 – the Finnish medical device manufacturer ArcDia International Ltd reports the development progress of COVID-19 rapid test for mariPOC® test system.

Our COVID-19 test development has progressed so quickly that it is already possible to test the native virus or patient samples for research purposes. In the research laboratory, we have already reached the same sensitivity than with our other mariPOC® tests on the market. This is a great result at this stage”, says Dr. Janne Koskinen, Head of R&D at ArcDia. “This confirms our belief that a functional and accurate test could be developed in a couple of months if adequate funding was made available immediately”, says Vesa Kemppainen, ArcDia’s CEO.

mariPOC® is the market leader in automated testing of respiratory tract infections in Finland. Because of its ease of use and short time to results, mariPOC® is especially suitable for decentralized rapid testing of acute infections in primary care and emergency clinics. The product already identifies 11 common and severe symptom causing respiratory pathogens from a single sample.

Many newly developed rapid COVID-19 serological blood tests are now on the market. These tests measure whether the body’s immune response has produced antibodies against SARS-COV-2 virus. A weak response occurs approximately a week after the patient has been infected and a strong response typically takes a few weeks. Thus, these tests are clinically irrelevant in case of acute infections, but can subsequently determine whether a person has ever contracted a certain disease. If the result of such a test is positive, the patient has already been ill for long or healed, and in that case the patient has already been infecting others for a week or more. These tests should not be mixed with ArcDia’s direct testing of viruses or bacteria, which works from the early onset of the symptoms.

Gene amplification based tests, like PCR, are suitable for acute infection testing in central laboratories, but the time to results is typically days and they are much more expensive than ArcDia’s mariPOC® tests. Furthermore, PCR tests react also to inactive virus and viral residues, which no longer causes symptoms or transmits. This is a problem because clinically false positive results keep patients in hospitals longer than necessary. This also has a great economic importance.

ArcDia’s automated rapid test is suitable for high capacity testing. Most of the positive results are reported within 20 minutes and low positive results within two hours. The sample does not need to be sent to the central laboratory since the tests can be done on site.

The mariPOC® test systems already installed around Finland could test all patients with symptoms of respiratory tract infection. The capacity is already so high that it can carry out 5,000 broad syndromic test panels per day, including SARS-COV-2 virus and 11 other respiratory microbes. The capacity can be raised to 50,000 tests per day, if needed, by testing the COVID-19 virus alone. This would provide, in addition to accurate diagnoses, a real-time picture of the epidemiological situation in Finland and valuable information on whether the large-scale COVID-19 management measures are effective.

“This is not a cost issue as mariPOC® tests are inexpensive. However, we would need immediate funding to accelerate the development of the COVID-19 test and increase our analyser production. It would be important to invest now, because every week wasted costs a lot to society”, says CEO Vesa Kemppainen.

How does ArcDia’s technology work?

A nasopharyngeal swab sample is taken from the patient. The swab is cut into a tube and diluted with sample buffer. The sample tube is then inserted into mariPOC® analyser for automated analysis. mariPOC® analyser dispenses the sample from the tube to a test plate with specific test reagents. The reagents include antibody coated microparticles in which the virus antigen attaches. In addition, there are labelled antibodies which also attach to the virus antigen, forming “antibody – virus – labelled antibody” -complex on top of the microparticles. The microparticles shines brightly in the sample suspension if there are specific virus in the sample. The advantage of the method is that only very small quantities of the expensive reagents are needed. This technology developed by ArcDia is patent protected and very difficult to copy, and will be usable for decades to come.

Test results are automatically collected in a cloud service, providing a real-time epidemiological situation for the use of authorities and health care professionals. This service provided by ArcDia is already in use by Finnish health care and authorities. However, the test volumes should be immediately increased significantly to maximize the data coverage.

ArcDia International Ltd

ArcDia International Oy Ltd develops, manufactures and markets mariPOC® worldwide. The company in Turku, Finland, was founded in 2008 and employs 29 professionals. mariPOC® products enable central laboratory level accuracy and pathogen coverage for decentralized rapid testing. ArcDia aims to expand the mariPOC® product line to cover the most common infections and antimicrobial resistance markers.

Further information:

Vesa Kemppainen, CEO
ArcDia International Oy Ltd
Email: vesa.kemppainen[at]arcdia.com
Phone: +358 40 522 7906