Shares of Novacyt SA surged 17% on Wednesday, after news that a rapid test for coronavirus that has been developed by its U.K. division has been fast-tracked for emergency use by the World Health Organization.
Novacyt ALNOV, +18.08% , which lists on the Euronext growth index and London’s Alternative Investment Market, has developed a polymerase chain reaction test with its molecular diagnostics unit, Primerdesign, which is based in Southampton, U.K. PCR tests are used to detect antigens, which can determine whether someone has had the virus or not.
The World Health Organization announced Tuesday that Primerdesign’s genesig Real-Time PCR Coronavirus (COVID-19) was one of the first two diagnostic tests for emergency use for the current pandemic. The test can now be supplied by the United Nations and other procurement agencies supporting the response to the outbreak, and used for one year under the emergency designation.
The other fast-tracked rapid test is from Roche ROG, -0.96%, which was approved last week.
Novacyt said it was also setting up a new testing laboratory with AstraZeneca AZN, -0.16% AZN, -1.40% , GlaxoSmithKline GSK, +0.26% GSK, -1.09% and the University of Cambridge to screen for COVID-19 testing and explore potential chemical reagents for test kits to help overcome current supply shortages. It’s part of the U.K. government’s new five-year plan to increase testing in the country.
Many governments were caught off guard by the coronavirus and rapid testing is being seen as one way to quickly figure out who is infected and then isolate them. Mass testing is thought to have helped South Korea lessen the severity of South Korea’s own outbreak.