Bedfordshire team develop new technology to improve speed and safety of testing in battle against virus

A new sampling technology developed by a partnership between Life Science Group Ltd of Bedford, and the University of Bedfordshire, has the potential to transform the global battle against Coronavirus (Sars-CoV-2) and other viruses by improving the speed and safety of sampling, whilst maintaining the quality of the viral sample. Public Health England have just formally validated the approach, confirming that the new testing buffer the team has developed does inactivate the virus, making the samples non-infectious and safe to handle.

During the current pandemic there has been a massive need for testing programmes for Covid infection. Testing needs to be both effective and safe, and there is increased pressure and demand for ‘gold standard’ molecular testing using PCR or similar methods. This has led to a significant increase in processing and rapid changes needed by laboratories across the country, often leading to delays for results and complications with testing.

Life Science Group in Bedford and researchers from the University of Bedfordshire’s School of Life Sciences are working together to produce a range of second-generation ‘Stabilising Viral Inactivation Buffers’ for the transportation of samples for viral testing, with government support through an Innovate UK grant.

Public Health England has now formally validated these new buffers showing that they inactivate the virus – which makes the samples non-infectious and safe to handle. This will help to significantly increase laboratory throughput and improve testing.

The inactivation buffer is expected to work not just for Covid-19 samples, but also for other viruses such as Ebola and will have many different sample applications globally.

The new Inactivir® range of ‘Stabilising Viral Inactivation Buffers’ from Life Science Group is now in the final stages of development. These buffers will be used in sample tubes following the collection of saliva or swab material from the patient and will inactivate any viral pathogens during transportation to the laboratories.

Jenny Murray, Managing Director, Life Science Group Ltd, said:

“The positive results coming through from Public Health England have confirmed the importance of this approach in the global battle against Coronavirus and other viruses.

“The benefits to the whole testing process are many and varied and include a safer and more effective way of handling a wide range of samples in the future. Other benefits include, low toxicity, longer shelf life and the prevention of degradation of samples to reduce issues of false negatives. The buffers can be used with a variety of extraction protocols and, above all, will increase the safety, speed and ease of testing.

“Life Science Group have really benefited from our partnership with the University on this and future projects. We are also actively looking at ways to support the University in providing students with access to the manufacturing skills embedded within the business.”

Dr Robin Maytum, Principal Lecturer in Biomedical Sciences at the University of Bedfordshire and Covid-19 research team lead added:

“We have been working with Life Science Group for just over a year now and this partnership has proved to be an invaluable opportunity for both our research students and staff at the University of Bedfordshire. It has been great to see this work evolve from a scientific concept to something that we believe will make a difference to testing and in the overall fight against Covid-19.

“The demand for localised safe and rapid molecular testing is clear and this product will help protect not just the public, but also those who handle and transport viral samples including the laboratory staff involved in the testing. This technology also preserves the quality of the sample helping to ensure the accuracy of tests.

“This approach is not only important for the high-tech testing environments found in this country, but maybe even more so in less developed parts of the world which don’t have our established systems and processes.

“These buffers will facilitate the next generations of molecular tests as they are put into use, not just within the UK, but globally.”

Life Science Group Ltd is currently the only company offering a full range of inactivation and stabilisation buffers suitable for a range of tests and differing requirements including PCR, Straight-to-PCR and LAMP and is fully ISO 13485 accredited.

www.lifesciencegroup.co.uk

ABOUT LIFE SCIENCE GROUP LTD

Life Science Group Ltd (LSG) is one of the UK’s leading suppliers of life science research

applications. An outstanding and independent UK company offering quality products and a first-

class customer service to leading pharma, biotech, contract research organisations and

universities worldwide. We offer our technical expertise and experience to provide traceable,

customisable solutions in the areas of Life Science Production, Antibody Production Services and

Diagnostic Kit Services, and to ensure all requirements are met with integrity and backed by our

ISO 13485 accreditation.

ABOUT UNIVERSITY OF BEDFORDSHIRE

  1. The University of Bedfordshire is a vibrant and diverse university with 25,000 students from more than 100 countries. It has two main campuses in Luton and Bedford, but is also active in Aylesbury, Milton Keynes, Birmingham and London, as well as globally, with a growing portfolio of international partnerships as far afield as Myanmar, Egypt, Vietnam, Oman and Mauritius.
  2. It is a forward-looking university with a clear mission to widen access to higher education, nurturing students to become creative self-starters and global citizens with the drive and ambition to make a real difference.
  3. Professor Rebecca Bunting was appointed Vice Chancellor in October 2020.
  4. The University’s £40m STEM building at its Luton campus opened in September 2019 and forms part of a five-year investment to re-generate the University’s estates totalling £180m. This included its Postgraduate and CPD centre on the Luton campus, the stunning teaching and learning Gateway building at its Bedford campus, and a seven-floor library in Luton.
  5. Some of the University’s accolades include: Silver in TEF (the Teaching Excellence Framework), ranking eighth in the People and Planet University Green League, holder of Eco Campus Platinum award (2021), and a top 250 University under 50 years old according to the Times Higher University World Rankings.
  6. For further information about the University of Bedfordshire, or to receive press releases on a regular basis, please contact: press.office@beds.ac.uk or 01582 489 399.

For further information please contact Stephen Thomason at Agora Marketing Communications Ltd on 0116 230 4967 or email steve@agoramc.co.uk

Or

Jenny Murray at Life Science Group Ltd on 01234 889180 or email

jennymurray@lifesciencegroup.co.uk

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