Timaru South Pacific Sera Company to Produce Covid-19 Test Kits
Bejon Haswell / Tips
William Rolleston of South Pacific Sera, left, with Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern on a visit to his Washdyke-based company in 2020.
A company from Timaru has contracted with an Auckland diagnostic biotech company to make Covid-19 test kits.
“It’s still the beginning,” William Rolleston, director of Washdyke-based South Pacific Sera, said of the deal with Pictor.
“We are only in the technology transfer phase to get the job done for Pictor.
“They give us the finer details of how the kits are made. You don’t crush them in five minutes. There is a very careful process to follow.
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“These are long games that we are playing, and we are going to increase our capacity.”
He said Pictor was aware of South Pacific Sera’s ability to produce the kits.
“The biotechnology industry is a small world. They were aware of our capabilities at a high level.
Pictor said the testing kits could make New Zealand’s border restrictions safer in the battle to control Covid-19.
“New Zealand needs to be aware that achieving very high immunization levels is simply not going to be enough in the medium term,” said Howard Moore, COO of Pictor.
“The Delta variant is relentless and as jurisdictions abroad have already discovered, many people will need to revaccinate to ensure their safety, that of their families, their workplace and their community.”
Moore said the company’s low-cost, high-performance test could help determine when post-vaccination antibody levels have dropped to a level where revaccination is needed.
“Using Pictor’s antibody test before New Zealanders travel overseas, health officials could confirm whether a person’s antibodies are adequate to allow them to safely avoid a mandatory MIQ stay. on his return to New Zealand.
“An antigen test performed at the same time would provide data to further reduce the level of risk and improve certainty.”
“If international travelers were to take our test when they arrive in New Zealand, health officials would know if they have antibodies from a previous infection or if they have been fully vaccinated.
“And if they are fully vaccinated, the results would tell authorities whether the level of antibodies is sufficient to fight reinfection. In other words, we would know which category of risk each arrival represents and could act accordingly. “
Moore said frontline workers such as border and health care professionals, truck drivers and port workers would ideally undergo the Pictor test three weeks after vaccination to make sure he brought the body to produce the antibodies needed to fight the virus.
“Then, four months later, another Pictor test would determine if a booster vaccination is necessary.
“The Pictor test would also allow employers of workers in high risk positions to be proactive in protecting staff and reduce the likelihood that the Delta variant will reappear in workplaces considered safe because all staff are fully vaccinated.”
Moore said the company’s antibody test produced “outstanding” results in an alpha assay and was entered into Medsafe’s database for marketing and use in New Zealand.
An Auckland testing laboratory would offer the Pictor test before the end of November.