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Braveheart Investment Group soars as investee COVID-19 test exceeds expectations

Braveheart Investment Group PLC (LON:BRH) shares soared on Friday as the company said a coronavirus (COVID-19) test being developed by its investee firm Paraytec Limited had seen “significantly better performance” in its detection limits.

The company said by isolating lab-grown COVID-19 virus to optimise the operational sensitivity of its test for the detection of pre-symptomatic and early-stage symptomatic virus levels, Paraytec has established a lower limit of detection of 1,000 virions per millilitre of sample fluid analysed, as anticipated.

WATCH: Paraytec lead Covid-19 Professor on sensitivity and specificity of various types of Covid-19 tests

This means Paraytec’s test requires only 0.1 millilitres of sample fluid to undertake a successful test, Braveheart said, adding that this is “a substantially smaller volume” than is required for the current “gold standard” qPCR test used to extract material from a nasopharyngeal swab and indicates that the Paraytec test may be capable of detecting as few as 100 virions in a sample.

“This would represent a significantly better performance than the lateral flow tests that are currently authorised for emergency use to detect infectivity and which typically have a lower limit of detection of 10,000-100,000 virions per sample”, the company said.

Braveheart continued, saying Paraytec considered the results “very important” as, if confirmed in the prospective clinical validation, it will mean the test would result in “a substantial (40%) improvement in overall test sensitivity compared to existing lateral flow tests, due to the reduced chances of receiving a false negative result and thus ensuring that people who obtain a negative test result can be increasingly confident that they have not become infected.”

“The analytical sensitivity achieved in these latest set of tests is very good news indeed. Having the capability to detect a few hundred viral copies per swab means that this test – which does not need to be located in a specialised laboratory or operated by trained laboratory personnel – has the potential to compete very favourably with expensive centralised systems requiring two-day turnaround times”, said Professor Carl Symthe, the leader of the University of Sheffield team that is working on the test in conjunction with Paraytec.

“These results have exceeded even our ambitious expectations and are a credit to Professor Smythe and his tireless team”, added Braveheart chief executive Trevor Brown.

The company’s shares surged 41.4% to 110.3p in late-afternoon trading.

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