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  • Biotech company ProMIS Neurosciences (TSX:PMN) has identified multiple potential targets for the development of a COVID-19 antibody test
  • The targets are unique to SARS-CoV-2’s spike protein halo, and will be synthesised for testing in the coming weeks
  • As restrictions begin to ease worldwide, an accurate antibody test that is specific to COVID-19 is an unmet necessity
  • The company expects to develop a highly accurate test for commercial availability in the near term
  • ProMIS Neurosciences is up 6.45 per cent, and is currently trading for C$0.16 per share

Biotech company ProMIS Neurosciences (TSX:PMN) has identified multiple potential targets for the development of a COVID-19 antibody test.

The company is advancing its program to create a highly accurate test for detecting antibodies of SARS-CoV-2, which causes COVID-19. In doing so, ProMIS found 18 potential antibody targets for this purpose. 

The 18 targets, called conformational peptide antigens, are specifically unique to SARS-CoV-2’s characteristic spike protein halo.

In the coming weeks, a specialised contract laboratory organisation will synthesise these targets for testing and validation. The testing will take place in the serology lab of Dr Hans Frykman at the University of British Columbia. 

As pandemic-related restrictions begin to ease worldwide, there is a necessity for an accurate antibody test specific only to COVID-19. Unfortunately, this need has gone unmet, due to cross-activity with other coronaviruses. 

Coronavirus is an umbrella term, referring to a group of viruses which includes SARS, MERS, COVID-19 and the common cold. Experts agree that an antibody test for the current pandemic must be specific to SARS-CoV-2. 

As such, Dr Frykman and his team will evaluate the 18 targets to see which is best for selection. The goal is to achieve 100 per cent sensitivity and 99.9 per cent specificity for SARS-CoV-2.

ProMIS Neurosciences’ President and CEO, Dr Elliot Goldstein, commented on the urgent need for this kind of test.

“As antibody tests for COVID-19 flood the market, the accuracy of these tests has emerged as a seemingly insurmountable barrier to resuming our lives with confidence. Developing an accurate antibody test selective for a single virus amongst a larger family of similar viruses is very challenging using today’s tools. 

“A highly accurate test for COVID-19 requires the ability to identify unique target protein structures, our main area of expertise by virtue of our work with the misfolded proteins that drive neurodegenerative diseases,” he said. 

If all goes well, the company expects that its COVID-19 antibody test will be commercially available in the near term.

ProMIS Neurosciences is up 6.45 per cent, and is trading for C$0.16 per share, as of 10:26am EDT.

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