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Shares in Co-Diagnostics surged as much as 177% on Thursday after the company said it completed principle design work for a screening test using its PCR-based CoPrimer technology to detect a new coronavirus, dubbed 2019-nCoV, that has recently emerged in China.
CEO Dwight Egan remarked that "there are several challenges to developing a test for a virus so relatively new on the world stage, especially one with many closely-related genetic cousins such as SARS and MERS." According to Egan, "one of the most important advantages of our CoPrimer platform is its ability to reliably and accurately differentiate between similar genetic sequences, in order to reduce the likelihood of a false positive diagnosis."
He suggested that "if the [World Health Organization] takes the step of declaring the illness a global health emergency following collection of more data in the days and weeks to come, Co-Diagnostics will be well-positioned to quickly assist in providing these...tools to affected countries."
German researchers recently said they had developed the first diagnostic test for the new coronavirus strain, which surfaced late December in the Chinese city of Wuhan and has so far been tied to 17 deaths, while Da An Gene says it has also developed a tool to diagnose the virus.
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