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Rapid virus test gets patent

HUBBARD — The biotech firm here that created a COVID-19 detection test that reduces the wait time for results from days to less than one hour has won U.S. patent approval on the technology.

Also, NanoLogix Inc. is seeking international protection over the intellectual property under the Patent Cooperation Treaty, a pact that contains 153 participating nations, according to the World Intellectual Property Organization.

Doing so broadens the geographic and technological scope of the rapid enzyme-based test NanoLogix introduced publicly in early May.

Patent-pending status was granted in mid May and in June, the test later was fast-tracked through a U.S. Patent and Trademark Office pilot program that gives priority to applications covering a product or process related to viral pandemic.

First reported in May, the test, according to the company, provides rapid and accurate identification of the virus’s spiked protein, but another “essential capability” is the test’s ability to rapidly detect a neutralizing antibody, “a quality that can determine both the need for vaccination and the effectiveness and longevity” of the antibodies.

Results are ready within an hour compared to three to five days with other tests. Development work, however, shows potential for detection times of 20 minutes or less, according to the company.

Simply put, patent protection blocks others from marketing or selling tests that do what NanoLogix’s test does.

The patent, according to Dr. Jonathan Faro, chief medical officer for NanoLogix, has wide-ranging implications, from “those who would like to determine if a convalescent serum has effective antibodies capable of neutralizing the virus” to “those who would like to know if an individual is contagious, or if they have gotten over the virus and can now go back to work.”

“This has implications for those who get the vaccine, but they would like to know if they seroconverted and may safely return to work,” Faro wrote.

The patent also impacts people ready to get a vaccine, but want to make sure the are not an asymptomatic carrier and don’t need it, and medications and treatment strategies.

“In effect, none of these may continue without possibly infringing on our patent,” wrote Faro, who’s also a member of the company’s board of directors.

The test, conceived and developed based on a diagnostic test the company created to detect bacteria infections during the Ebola wave in 2014 in West Africa, can be customized to detect other harmful viruses, including HIV, HPV, hepatitis, MERS and SARS-1.

An additional aspect of the test is for the home-test configuration, which can produce results in about 30 minutes using a nasopharyngeal swab sample or saliva, according to the company.

The nasopharynx is the upper part of the throat behind the nose.

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