CBIA BizCast: Rapid COVID-19 Test from Wren Laboratories |

0


Until the end of the coronavirus pandemic, COVID testing will remain mandatory in some settings, which could be good news for a Branford company that has developed a saliva-based rapid detection test.

Wren Laboratories designed its test after Governor Ned Lamont and state health officials approached them last year, said Mark Kidd, scientific and laboratory director of Wren.

He said scientists at Wren decided to focus on a saliva-based test because the nasal swab method “makes it look like your brain is going to explode.”

“The swab is not very pleasant, so we thought, ‘OK, the first thing we were going to do is develop an easy-to-collect test with saliva,” Kidd told Paul Pescatello of Connecticut Bioscience Growth Council in a CBIA BizCast.

“We developed a saliva collection kit, which allows for quick and easy collection, and then we focused on a few areas to maximize collection and testing performance.

“One was to make sure the virus was collected without degrading the sample because RNA viruses are not stable in saliva.”

‘High accuracy’

Wren built a special buffer that allows them to collect saliva while protecting the COVID RNA sample from degradation. This is especially important for detecting low viral loads.

The lab’s work with the Federal Food and Drug Administration indicates that the test is very accurate and will likely detect all known mutants, including the Delta or Indian mutation, Kidd said.

The test has a 24 hour turnaround time and Wren Labs has the capacity to run thousands of tests per day.

The test has a 24 hour turnaround time and Wren Labs has the capacity to run thousands of tests every day. The test also increased business for Wren Labs.

“The biggest areas where we do testing are manufacturing, farming and farming, as well as schools,” Kidd said.

Schools

And with children under 12 not yet cleared for COVID vaccines, Kidd said they expected to hear from more schools.

“We have received a lot of interest from groups who want to test school children just because they want to get back to some form of normalcy,” he said.

“It is likely that the tests will become standardized for children returning to school.”

Mark Kidd of Wren Laboratories

“I can’t predict what the FDA or the CDC will choose to do, but it is likely that the tests will become standardized for children returning to school.”

Kidd said that means there will likely be testing once a week, and mass testing or random testing protocols could be put in place.

“Testing is going to be part of our normal life,” he said.

Job growth

The increase in activity resulting from testing has forced Wren Labs to increase its workforce.

“The business environment has allowed us to grow, and there is a whole set of resources – intellectual resources – that we can tap into,” he said.

When Wren’s tests began to explode, he turned to UConn, the University of New Haven, and Southern Connecticut State University for talent.

Wren’s work with cancer testing first caught the attention of state health officials.

“We were really lucky that Connecticut provided us with the resources we needed to be successful,” Kidd said.

It was Wren’s work with cancer testing that first caught the attention of state health officials, who then approached the company to develop a COVID PCR test.

Cancer screening

One of the biggest concerns of patients and doctors after cancer is removed is whether any is left or whether the cancer will come back.

“I’m sure there are many times when people have been told they were healed. But we all know that over time diseases come back, cancers come back, “Kidd said.

Sometimes it takes years for the cancer to come back.

A very accurate blood test developed by Wren can determine if the cancer persists after surgery.

But a very precise PCR blood test developed by Wren Labs can determine if the cancer persists after surgery.

“The test is so precise that it will detect disease for up to two years before standard approaches such as imaging can detect the disease,” Kidd said.

“PCR is a great tool because it can be used to not only amplify the COVID virus to detect it in saliva, even when the presence is low, the same approach can also be used to amplify cancer genes. “

Early detection

Wren Labs is developing these types of PCR tests to help physicians and surgeons manage their patients. They are also working to develop tests that can monitor whether the patient is responding to therapy.

“It makes sense not to spend money on expensive treatments that don’t work,” he said.

Since early detection is the best way to treat cancers, Wren Labs is developing a prostate cancer test that they hope to have ready soon, as well as a breast cancer test.

The company is also working on a series of other tests for cancers, including lung and colon, which it hopes to provide to doctors to help manage patients.

The company is also working on a series of other tests for cancers, including the lung and colon.

“It’s in our DNA at Wren to develop tests that can help individuals and, like our COVID test, help businesses in Connecticut,” Kidd said.

“We hope to expand our portfolio of cancer tests, develop tools to collect smaller and smaller blood samples, and develop a point-of-care tool somewhere along the line.

“We have everything in place to respond to the next virus attack in Connecticut and the United States, and we will continue to respond if necessary.”


Members of the AABC can obtain a special discount on COVID-19 rapid tests from Wren Laboratories.

Please rate, review and subscribe to BizCast wherever you get your podcasts – we appreciate your support! If you have a story to tell, contact Katie Krajcik.

Subscribe to CBIA BizCast on Apple or wherever you listen to your podcasts!


Leave A Reply

Your email address will not be published.