Kelowna startup receives funding to develop COVID-19 test

Metabolic Insights Inc. received a $300,000 grant from the National Research Council

A Kelowna-based startup has received some funding to develop a new test to detect COVID-19.

Metabolic Insights Inc. announced it was awarded $300,000 by the Industrial Research Assistance Program of the National Research Council Canada.

The funds will be used to repurpose the company’s existing salivary insulin technology to detect COVID-19, as well as the virus antibody in a person’s saliva.

Originally, the company built a platform to analyze various proteins by using a person’s saliva and other body fluids.

Currently, COVID-19 testing includes a nasal swabbing procedure. The swab is then sent to a centralized laboratory to detect the presence of the virus. The current test is time-consuming, with results not communicated to patients for 24 hours or more, especially for patients in rural areas where healthcare isn’t easily accessible.

In a statement, the Metabolic Insights said a saliva-based test would be non-invasive and quick, as it allows transferring testing from a hospital to an outpatient environment.

“This would make it an ideal tool for screening by physicians, pharmacies, a point-of-care home diagnosis, and distribution to rural populations,” the statement said.

Metabolic Insights’ CEO David Turner said the grant will help the company accelerate its ability to test not just COVID-19, but other infectious diseases as well.

“We hope to dramatically shift how testing and monitoring for this and other clinically impactful proteins can occur in the future. Our goal is to be able to detect the COVID-19 virus through a small saliva sample in under ten minutes,” he said.

COVID-19 testing is available through physician referral or HealthLink BC.

READ: Risk of Okanagan flooding decreases despite rainy week ahead

READ: Interior Health sets up drive-thru testing in Kelowna


Twila Amato
Video journalist, Black Press Okanagan
Email me at twila.amato@blackpress.ca
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