DJEDDAH: The Kingdom’s first COVID-19 RT-PCR test, developed at King Abdullah University of Science and Technology, has been approved by the Saudi Food and Drug Authority.
Startup KAUST NoorDX launched the new service at KAUST Health, and university president Dr Tony Chan was the first to be tested.
Located in KAUST’s main laboratories, NoorDX provides a comprehensive suite of treatment equipment using biotechnology diagnostics developed by Dr. Samir Hamdan, Professor of Biosciences, and his rapid response research team.
Since the start of the pandemic, the number of daily PCR tests in the Kingdom has increased from a few thousand to between 75,000 and 110,000 per day. Saudi Arabia has used kits developed outside the country to meet demand, but internal capacities increase autonomy while reducing wait time and associated costs. The result is a cost-effective, one-step, multi-use RT-PCR test that is significantly lower in price than previous tests.
The service begins at KAUST and will expand to include communities throughout the Kingdom. Users can expect to receive high-precision results on their personal devices via a QR code within 24 hours, with most results being returned within 12 hours. Travelers are ready to go after downloading and printing the report. For a premium, results can be returned within five hours.
In addition to being Saudi Arabia’s premier test kit supplier, NoorDX will be the Kingdom’s first genomics entity with fully localized capacity, offering a portfolio of genomics services from early 2022. Most clinical trials are currently being sent. abroad, and localized production is strategic. strengthening genomics expertise within the Kingdom.
NoorDX Managing Director Dr Abdulaleh Alhawsawi said: âThis is a great time, both for KAUST’s ability to deliver quality RT-PCR tests and, soon, for gene sequencing. NoorDX will cater to Saudi communities with a full range of downstream services and applications, from dry to wet lab technologies, to analysis, to Saudi biobank and national genome construction. “
KAUST transforms patient care through its partnerships. NoorDX is part of a constellation of experts contributing to robust healthcare services in academia, business innovation, biotechnology and biopharmacy. They include Dr Pierre Magistretti, director of the Smart-Health Initiative; Dr Samir Hamdan and the Research Rapid Response Team; Dr Arnab Pain, Director of the Pathogen Genomics Laboratory; KAUST Innovation; the main laboratories; the President’s Cabinet; the Research Office; the Ministry of Health, Safety and the Environment; and KAUST Health.