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An “on-the-spot” COVID-19 saliva antigen test developed by UK medtech firm Vatic has been awarded a CE Mark and been registered with the UK’s Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA).

The KnowNow test is a saliva-only test, meaning it is both more convenient for healthcare professionals and comfortable for patients than the current tests in use, which are typically nasal or nasopharyngeal.

The test uses the virus’ spike protein to determine both infection and infectivity. The test is able to identify any potential COVID-19 variant, unlike other tests which utilise antibodies.

It returns results within 15 minutes, meaning that it could prove vital in enabling businesses to reopen, as well as in allowing crowds to return to events like sports or concerts. Vatic will work with leading retail, hospitality and transport brands, in the UK and worldwide, to pilot KnowNow in various real-life situations and environments.

Vatic CEO and KnowNow co-inventor Alex Sheppard said: “CE Mark registration is a significant stage in rolling out this UK-based technology to help keep people safe and open closed sections of society.”

“We are delighted to be trialling the technology with some of the UK’s most famous brands and institutions to help them keep their customers and employees safe.”

Vatic CTO and KnowNow co-inventor Dr Mona Kab Omir commented: “The more we can encourage and enable regular testing across the population – giving people clarity about whether they are infected (and, critically, infectious) – the quicker our lives will start to look more ‘normal’.”

“Where a typical antigen test identifies the presence of harmless viral matter, our test identifies the infectiousness of the people who are tested. This is a much-needed technological breakthrough where in public health in it is critical to delineate.”

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