This Tuesday (12/01) marks the availability of the new rapid molecular Covid-19-Genome test for detecting the coronavirus from saliva developed by the CEGH-CEL – Center for Human Genome and Stem Cells Studies of the Biosciences Institute at USP, in partnership with the USP Institute of Chemistry. Capable of identifying Covid-19 cases within 24 hours, in this initial phase it will only be available in capital of São Paulo and only to 50 people per day. The research project was supported by JBS and Fapesp – the Research Support Foundation of the State of São Paulo.
The system enables the patient to collect their own saliva in test tube in a painless, non-invasive manner. This reduces contagion risk as it no longer requires a healthcare professional to obtain samples from the nose and throat. Moreover, using saliva eliminates the use of swabs for testing. This is an alternative to the RT-PCR, a global benchmark in detecting active cases of the new coronavirus.
There are two options for collection: the person can go to the CEGH-CEL (Rua R. do Matão, 106 – Butantã) or ask to have a self-collection kit delivered to their home or address of preference. Prices range from R$ 90.00 for collection at USP, and R$ 150.00 for those opting for the remote alternative; in this case, the delivery person will wait until the patient has finalized their collection, so as to return the material to the laboratory.
Appointments can be arranged at http://www.genomacovid19.ib.usp.br/. Payment options include credit cards and bank payment slips. The result is expected to be available within 24 horas after delivery of the sample to the laboratory.
Consisting of a test tube and gel alcohol, the kit will be wrapped in a plastic bag and accommodated in a box. Those doing the test at home have to spit into the test tube and seal it afterwards. Then, they have to sanitize the tube using gel alcohol, re-wrap it in the plastic bag and put it in the box again, sealing the kit.
For Maria Rita Passos-Bueno, researcher at the Center for Human genome and Stem Cell Research of the Biosciences Institute at USP, the test simplifies the collection method and analysis. “We have managed to considerably reduce the final costs of the test. By doing so we are extending the benefit to the population who will now have a testing option that is more accessible, safer and quicker”, she explains.
Today, the project team consists of five professionals who will be solely responsible for collection and laboratory analysis, as well as managing appointments. The group is now seeking further investments in order to offer the test in locations where collection and analysis infrastructure is deficient, by including the benchmark laboratories of the universities, thereby expanding testing capacity in Brazil.
JBS has allocated R$ 50 million to science in Brazil
Under its donations program, Good Deeds Are Good – Feeding the World with Solidarity, JBS has allocated R$ 50 million to 38 scientific studies and research projects within the program of R$ 400 million in donations that the Company has allocated to combat the new coronavirus in Brazil. All projects supported are linked to universities like USP, Unesp, UFMG, UFMS, UFPE, UFPI and UFPel; renowned research institutes like Fiocruz; healthcare entities like the Clinics Hospital of São Paulo and the Albert Einstein Hospital, as well as projects selected in a call by the National Council for Scientific and Technological Development (CNPq).
For Fernando Meller, People and Management officer of Seara and manager of the “Good Deeds Are Good” program, investing in science is one of the best ways to save lives and so leave a permanent legacy for Brazil. “Scientific advancement is undoubtedly one of the most significant achievements we can bequeath to future generations”, he adds.
The “Good Deeds Are Good” program, in addition to the R$ 50 million allocated to supporting the field of science, has channeled R$ 330 million to Brazil’s public health sector and a further R$ 20 million to support social projects, making a total of R$ 400 million in donations to address the pandemic in Brazil. It is estimated that 77 million have benefited from the company’s actions in over 290 municipalities in all Brazilian states and the Federal District. Find out more: jbs.com.br/fazerobemfazbem.