New rapid coronavirus test goes on the market

Electron microscope image of SARS-CoV-2, also known as the 2019-nCoV or novel coronavirus
Electron microscope image of SARS-CoV-2, also known as the 2019-nCoV or novel coronavirus. February 14, 2020NIAID-RMLFlickrCC-BY

Biotechnology company Curetis launched a rapid testing kit for the new coronavirus Covid-19 in Europe on Monday. The German company is registered in the Netherlands and is listed on the Euronext Amsterdam stock exchange, where its share price nearly doubled on the announcement.

The company is now making the testing kit available to laboratories in Europe - including in countries where Curetis does not yet have distribution partners, "owing to the special circumstances of the global outbreak". 

"The test kit includes all necessary reagents and controls to test up to 48 patients in just a few hours," the company said in a statement. 

“We sincerely hope that in this way we can contribute to containing the outbreak and improving the outcomes of Covid-19 patients by way of a comprehensive offering of diagnostic solutions for severe and life-threatening respiratory tract infections," Curetis CEO Oliver Schacht said in a press release.

According to the company, the kit can also be used with its Unyvero diagnostics system to recognize some types of pneumonia.

The testing kit was developed by Curetis in cooperation with partner BGI Group in China. The company said its testing method was approved by the Chinese authorities in January, and is released in Europe now that it also has European approval.