PRESS RELEASE

Charles University
Ovocný trh 5, Prague 1, 116 36
CZECH REPUBLIC www.cuni.cz

CHARLES UNIVERSITY KEEPS ITS PROMISES – INTRODUCING THE LONG-AWAITED TEST FOR COVID-19 AND INFLUENZA A & B

Prague, 6 October 2020 – GeneSpector s.r.o., subsidiary company of Charles University, introduces previously announced combined diagnostic test for COVID-19, Influenza A, and Influenza B. Early diagnostics are mainly going to help symptomatic patients in ER. With the new test, patients with negative COVID-19 results are going to know if they have influenza that can be cured with available antiviral drugs and whether quarantine rules apply to them. This multiplex test is going to be provided for the same price as the current COVID-19 test. Thanks to GeneSpector technology, testing capacities for COVID-19 of numerous hospitals and diagnostic labs in the Czech Republic have been successfully increased.

In August, Rector of Charles University announced a foundation of university subsidiary company GeneSpector s.r.o. together with an information that multiplex test for COVID-19, Influenza A, and Influenza B is going to be available in autumn 2020. In September during a press conference, distribution of COVID-19 tests was launched together with a promise that the multiplex test in going to be added the line-up in October 2020. Today, as promised, Charles University introduces the finished multiplex test kit, which is already available to order via webpage: https://www.genespector.com/.

Multiplex test brings a number of advantages for patients. So far, it was only possible to tell whether the patient is COVID-19 positive or negative. In case of positive results, quarantine rules were applied. In case of negative results, however with matching symptoms, the patient was not sure if he has flu or another viral disease. Now, thanks to the multiplex test, the patient can find out if he is negative for COVID-19 and positive for Influenza A or B. As a result, quarantine results don’t have to be applied and the person can be treated with available antiviral drugs. This information is especially important in patients with a severe respiratory disease in the ER, since with the test results in hand, the patient can be sent to a matching ICU department with or without strict COVID-19 precautions.

New multiplex test manufactured by GeneSpector has the same qualities as the previously introduced COVID-19-only test: sampling kits contain viRNAtrap™ solution which immediately inactivates viral particles and stabilises samples for later diagnostic analyses. Therefore, safety for medical and laboratory personnel is assured. Testing kits were developed in a cooperation with the National Reference Laboratory for Influenza, which is a part of the National Institute of Public Health.

Charles University and its subsidiary company have decided to fight COVID-19 and other respiratory diseases also by reasonable pricing, in order to make the multiplex test affordable for everybody. Therefore, people are going to pay the same price for the new multiplex test as for the previous COVID-19-only test. Currently, GeneSpector technology is used in one fifth of all test conducted in the Czech Republic, which means that from now on, every fifth tested person in our country is going to receive three test results instead of one.

In September, GeneSpector representatives promised increased COVID-19 testing capacities of hospitals and diagnostic laboratories. Based on public data1, an average regional hospital is capable of testing 50–300 samples a day, while big diagnostic labs can test 800–1,200 samples a day. When compared with data from hospitals and laboratories that implemented the GeneSpector technology, a significant increase in testing capacities can be observed. In the past few weeks, thanks to GeneSpector protocols and automation, one of the biggest diagnostic laboratories was able to test a record-breaking 5,546 samples within one day, while a standard in this laboratory is around 2,500 tests a day. We are intensely working on increasing testing capacities mainly in university hospitals and regional hospitals through an optimisation of the whole process, from sampling to results, and by implementing the GeneSpector technology.

Charles University
Charles University, founded in 1348, is one of the oldest universities in the world. Currently, it consists of 17 faculties (14 in Prague, 2 in Hradec Kralove, and 1 in Pilsen), 4 university institutes, 5 other centres for educational, scientific, research, development, and other creative activities, a centre for providing information services, 5 supporting facilities, and the Rectorate as an executive management body. Numerous analyses, e.g. the evaluation of scientific output conducted by the Research, Development and Innovation Council of the Czech Republic, show that Charles University is the best-performing research institution in the Czech Republic. The University has over 8,000 employees, more that 4,600 of which are academic and research staff. Charles University has more than 48,000 students, which is roughly one-sixth of all students in the Czech Republic, studying in more than 300 accredited degree programmes that offer over 600 different courses. Every year, approximately 8,000 students complete their studies. Charles University is one of Europe’s five most favourite universities among foreign students in the Erasmus Programme. According to the Reflex 2013–2014 survey conducted by the Faculty of Education of Charles University, graduates of Charles University steadily have the lowest unemployment rate among all public universities. Financial evaluation of graduates of Charles University on the job market ranks among the highest.

Charles University Innovations Prague s.r.o.
CUIP is a wholly owned subsidiary of Charles University founded in June 2018. It is a research and knowledge dissemination organisation, whose primary goal is to widely disseminate results created at Charles University and to secure utilisation of intellectual property of Charles University in the field of research and development and its use for business, industrial, and other similar purposes, i.e. their commercialisation. CUIP can establish or buy shares in spin-off companies in order to commercially utilise intellectual property of Charles University. Within this field, CUIP closely cooperates with the Centre for Knowledge and Technology Transfer of Charles University, which is a standalone part of Charles University and provides services and information supporting the transfer of knowledge and technology.

In 2020, CUIP has already founded three spin-off companies – Charles Games s.r.o. programming and producing computer games, LAM-X a.s. developing nanomaterial capable of active defence against a wide variety of pathogens, and GeneSpector s.r.o. providing complex, safe, universal, and quick solutions for laboratory diagnostics of COVID-19. For more info visit: https://www.cuip.cz.

GENERI BIOTECH s.r.o.
GB was founded in 1995 as a producer of oligonucleotides. Their know-how covering synthesis of various oligonucleotide modifications translated into development of real-time PCR IVD kits and their portfolio of IVD kits steadily grows since 2010. GB’s products are used in laboratory diagnostics in human medicine and R&D. For more info visit: https://www.generi-biotech.com.

SPADIA LAB, a.s.
SLAPIA LAB, a network of diagnostic laboratories founded in 2009, is one of the largest providers of laboratory medicine in the Czech Republic. It provides a spectrum of routine, highly specialised, and unique examinations. They are accredited following a norm ČSN EN ISO 15189:2013. They are authorised for COVID-19 testing by the State Health Department (www.szu.cz/tema/prevence/laboratorni-vysetrovani-puvodce-covid-19-2). Their significant capacity allows high speed of sample work-up and quality of results, which is crucial for proper patient care in both prevention and treatment. For more info visit: https://www.spadia.cz.

ZKV Career, s.r.o.
ZKV Career was founded in 2017 and focuses on consulting services for new companies, especially in early stages – the inception, search for investors, and creation of business and marketing strategies. They help companies as consultants and interim managers in the field of management, marketing, business and human resources. For more info visit: https://zkvcareer.com.

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Václav Hájek

Spokesman of Charles University
External Relationships Department Charles University
Phone: 224 491 248
Cell: 721 285 565
E-mail: pr@cuni.cz