Under its new initiative Project Screen, Hong Kong-based genetic testing company Circle DNA has created an at-home Covid-19 lab test for distribution within Hong Kong
As global Covid-19 cases pass the 3 million mark, leading Hong Kong-based digital health company Circle DNA has announced it will be pooling its resources to expand Covid-19 testing within Hong Kong, aiding in the city-wide efforts to ensure current coronavirus numbers continue to decrease.
The initiative, Project Screen, is a collaboration between Circle DNA and a variety of leading companies including Prudential Hong Kong, Chinese University Hong Kong (CUHK), Xcelom, Mason Supreme Healthcare, hpa SOCIAL, Beyond Ventures and Pickupp. "Everything we are doing related to Covid-19 is a social contribution and is not for profit," says Project Screen. "In an effort to provide everyone in the community accessibility to WHO-recommended Covid-19 testing, Project Screen is operating to only cover costs with zero profit."
There are two main ways to test for the Covid-19 infection: a RT-PCR test (Reverse Transcription Polymerase Chain Reaction) or an antibody test. The first method, RT-PCR is now the most widely used method for detecting coronaviruses, and analyses a RNA sample from the body to determine if the coronavirus' RNA molecule is also present. Whereas the antibody tests are used to determine whether a person has developed the antibodies needed to fight off a particular infection—in this case, coronavirus, though it's been reported antibody tests have had false positives and low reliability in the case of Covid-19.
Project Screen uses the RT-PCR method via a saliva sample, and has a turnaround of one business day. Currently available to the public for HK$985, the tests are subsidised to HK$690 for frontline workers and their families.
“Hong Kong is our home and together with the consortium of Project Screen, we felt it was our responsibility to do everything we possibly can for the community,” says Yeung. “No one company can do it all and it’s just amazing we have the support of so many industry leaders whom have all worked around the clock to launch Project Screen as a non-profit initiative. Together, we can fight Covid-19.”
Since Project Screen's launch, the initiative has added more partner organisations, most recently Deliveroo, Tung Wah Group of Hospitals and ZA Bank. Honouree Nicholas Ho of achitecture firm HPA also got on board, donating 500 Covid-19 test kits to Tung Wah Hospital.
For more information about the test kits, visit Project Screen.