Danny Yeung’s Prenetics Launches Rapid Covid-19 Test For Home Use
Danny Yeung—a Tatler cover star, Gen.T 2019 honouree, Impact List honouree, and CEO of biotech company Prenetics, has teamed up with fellow Impact List honouree and Culture List honouree Adrian Cheng of New World Development (NWD) to launch Circle HealthPod—a rapid and reusable detection system for Covid-19 which is available for use at home.
The HealthPod will provide households with a fast, accurate, PCR-quality and reliable test option whenever needed through its single-use molecular capsules that work for all infectious diseases, starting with Covid-19 and due to include flu and STDs in the future. Developed at the University of Oxford, HealthPod will be the first rapid molecular point of care and at-home diagnostic test to be offered in Asia.
When it comes to detecting Covid-19, the test has a sensitivity of 96 per cent and a specificity of 99.9 per cent. It uses a pain-free short nasal swab and provides results to the user’s smartphone or directly in the HealthPod in 20 minutes. The pocket-sized lab can do more than 1,000 tests and is available for use both by symptomatic and asymptomatic individuals aged two and over.
This launch comes as Yeung’s Prenetics is reportedly merging with Cheng’s Artisan Acquisition in a deal worth US$1.3 billion. “We are extremely excited to partner with Adrian and the entire NWD ecosystem. For the past year, we have been working with [the] University of Oxford on the HealthPod, it’s truly a consummation of so many parties coming together to bring new innovation to the World, Yeung said in a statement.
“The Circle HealthPod is the first of its kind and we believe it will change how consumers consume healthcare. We imagine a future where every household and every office will have a Circle HealthPod, capable of testing for all infectious diseases without ever having to step foot outside. Our mission at Prenetics has always been to decentralize healthcare and today's announcement with NWD marks a significant milestone, he added.
Prenetics is collaborating with Watsons for the launch of HealthPod in Hong Kong but Yeung is looking beyond, hoping to get approval from the US government by the end of the year for worldwide distribution.
Still have questions? Read the FAQ below.
What regulatory approvals have Circle HealthPod already received?
Circle HealthPod has received the CE-IVD marking. CE Marking indicates that an in vitro diagnostic (IVD device complies with the European In-Vitro Diagnostic Devices Directive (98/79/EC) and that the device may be legally commercialized across the EU. Circle HealthPod has also started on usability studies for submission to the US FDA EUA and expect to get approval by the end of 2021.
What type of test is the Circle HealthPod test?
The Circle HealthPod Covid-19 test and laboratory tests commonly known as PCR are molecular nucleic acid amplification tests (NAAT) that detect the Sars-CoV-2 virus genetic material. Other types of molecular tests are PCR, RT-PCR and LAMP.
Molecular tests are more accurate than other methods such as antigen tests. The Circle HealthPod test uses isothermal nucleic acid amplification technology developed by University of Oxford professors that is an equivalent alternative amplification method to a polymerase chain reaction (PCR).
Can Circle HealthPod be used by more than one user?
The Circle HealthPod is designed to be reusable and shared under two conditions. First, when paired with a smartphone, HealthPod allows up to 10 profiles to be tested and record their results under one device.
Each test requires the use of one single-use capsule set and allows one user at a time. When HealthPod is used alone, each test requires the use of one single-use capsule set and allows one user at a time.
Would Prenetics access any of the test results? Will the data be shared with the government?
The only person that has access to the test results would be the individual. Prenetics does not share the results with any third party, including the government.
How many times can one use the Circle HealthPod, and what is the shelf life for the one-time use capsule set?
The Circle HealthPod is designed to be used more than 1,000 times. The capsule set has a shelf life of three months. Further studies are ongoing to improve the shelf life to be for six months or longer.
Do any of the mutations affect the sensitivity of the HealthPod test? Can HealthPod detect Delta Variant?
Many of the mutations to date have been located in the part of the virus’ genome that codes for spike protein, which is used to gain entry into human cells. The HealthPod test detects a different region of the virus genome that is more stable. This means our test will likely continue to perform with a high level of sensitivity, even if the virus continues to mutate in the future.
Yes, Circle HealthPod can detect 99.9% of known Covid-19 variants, including B.1.1.7 (Alpha), B.1.351 (Beta), P.1 (Gamma) and B.1.617.2 (Delta).
From August 10 onwards, consumers can pre-order Circle HealthPod on their official site and at Circle Labs K11 Musea store. Delivery begins on August 30.