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Oxford firms collaborate to scale up COVID-19 antigen production

Oxford firms collaborate to scale up COVID-19 antigen production

Two Oxford businesses - OXGENE™ and The Native Antigen Company - have formed a strategic partnership to scale-up production of SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19) reagents to test for the disease in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic. Together, the companies will aim to scale their antigen manufacturing capabilities which is critical for the development of widely available diagnostic tests.

These diagnostics test will be able to confirm past infections and determine levels of immunity to SARS-CoV-2. These tests could be instrumental for the diagnosis of healthcare workers who have been exposed to the virus to ensure that they have developed natural immunity before returning to work.

Current COVID-19 tests use the polymerase chain reaction (PCR) that detects the virus's genome. Although an important first step, these tests can only detect ongoing COVID-19 infections.

Dr Andy Lane, commercial director The Native Antigen Company, said: "We are committed to developing the highest-quality reagents in rapid response to emerging epidemic diseases. Since the start of the crisis, the demand for our COVID-19 antigens has increased significantly, and by scaling up production of these vital reagents in collaboration with OXGENE, we hope to be able to support more researchers in their critical work developing diagnostics and vaccines."

Dr Ryan Cawood, chief executive of OXGENE, added: "Our novel Protein Machine Technology represents a significant development in the rapid and scalable generation of high-quality viral proteins. We're delighted that by collaborating with The Native Antigen Company, we can take advantage of our technology to support the needs of researchers racing to develop much-needed diagnostics and vaccines against COVID-19."

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