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Rapid test for COVID-19 is being developed in Turku


Finnish diagnostic company ArcDia is developing a test for COVID-19, for the use of healthcare.

ArcDia has developed apparatus for diagnosing different infections for example respiratory infectious diseases, and the same test method can be used for the new coronavirus. Nordic Life Science asked the CEO of ArcDia, Vesa Kemppainen, about the method and its possibilities.

How would testing be performed with your method?

“A sample is taken from the patient’s nose with a swab. The swab is cut into a test tube. The tube is filled with liquid and put into the analyzer. The results are ready in 20 minutes. The patient will have a name for his/her disease and correct medication and treatment before he/she leaves the hospital or clinic. Our test reduces unnecessary use of antibiotics as well. The results are automatically sent to our cloud service for epidemic surveillance, i.e. test results are visualized on map. The Finnish health authorities THL use this map already.”

More information about mariPOC can be found here!

What are the advantages with your method?

“Our technology is fully automated, distributed close to the patients, results are transferred to the cloud, and the price per test is much lower than for PCR test. Expensive PCR tests are not worse than our method in sensitivity, but PCR tests react also to the dead virus that is not contagious any longer. Our test reacts exactly to the living virus. This is a huge advantage because patients can be sent home faster for the purpose of releasing hospital resources.

Serological tests, tests made from blood samples, detect the virus only after the immune reaction of the patient has been activated. This takes several days, making it a suitable method only for finding out if a person indeed has been infected in the past. It is not useful in diagnosis of acute infections since the result is too late for starting medication and the patient has contaminated others for days already.”

When do you think the method could be ready for the new coronavirus?

“We are ready to start first tests with patients now. The preliminary performance of the COVID-19 test is preliminarily similar to our 11 other respiratory infection tests already on the market. We have enough capacity for testing 5,000 patients daily with our standard process and long Respi panel for detection of 11 common causes for respiratory symptoms. And we could run up to 50,000 tests daily for just COVID-19. We are looking for quick additional funding to speeding up both test development and production, and for increasing analyser production.”