University Partners on New COVID-19 Antibody Test and Prevalence Study

Months after working to develop a COVID-19 antibody test and receiving approval from the Food and Drug Administration, researchers at the U of A and NOWDiagnostics, Inc., announced Wednesday, June 16, an active partnership to study the prevalence of COVID-19-related virus antibodies among U of A students, staff and faculty.

The new antibody test was developed and is manufactured at Springdale, Arkansas, based NOWDiagnostics with technology created with the help of U of A chemical engineers. The trademarked ADEXUSDx COVID-19 antibody test is a rapid-results, self-contained fingerstick test that accurately detects the presence of COVID-19 antibodies in 15 minutes.

In May, NOWDiagnostics received emergency-use authorization from the FDA. The test also is approved for use in Europe. Trials for U.S. over-the-counter use are ongoing.

The campus study using the new antibody test is designed to estimate the seropositive prevalence of COVID-19-related antibodies in the U of A campus community and evaluate whether the prevalence of antibodies in the U of A population significantly changes over time. This information can ultimately inform policymakers’ decisions affecting the health and welfare of all Arkansans and assist state leaders responsible for reopening Arkansas’s businesses and schools.

The study began recruiting volunteer students, faculty and staff in March with the objective to test each enrollee three times over a period of four months.

“This study simultaneously accomplishes an in-depth study of how prevalent COVID-19 is among our campus community of students, staff and faculty, which gives us information on the effectiveness of our pandemic public health policy,” said Donald G.Catanzaro, lead researcher on the study and a research assistant professor in biological sciences. “Secondly, it assists NOWDiagnostics in understanding the performance of their innovative antibody test and, very importantly, this study gives our talented team of undergraduate researchers experience in clinical research. It really is a triple win.”

Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, reliable antibody testing has played a pivotal role in the identification of convalescent plasma donors to provide life-saving therapy for those most affected by COVID-19. In addition to this role, antibody testing offers important utility to understand immunity following infection, and potentially therapy and vaccination — for individuals, healthcare providers, businesses, communities and governments.

Chemical engineering associate professor Shannon Servoss, a former member of the ADEXUSDx COVID-19 antibody test development team at NOWDiagnostics, is the co-principal investigator of the campus study with Cantanzaro, along with co-principal investigator Shengfan Zhang, associate professor of industrial engineering.

“The efforts of University of Arkansas researchers and the team at NOWDiagnostics serve as an excellent example of a public-private collaboration that is built on a longstanding relationship,” said Bob Beitle, professor of chemical engineering and associate vice chancellor for research and innovation. “U of A faculty are encouraged to seek out these connections — especially with Arkansas-based companies — to elevate the entire community.”

“NOWDiagnostics is the beneficiary of a best-in-class workforce, largely sourced from the University of Arkansas. Additionally, the company maintains active collaborations with U of A faculty that drive discoveries and lead to improved clinical outcomes,” said Beth Cobb, Chief Operating Officer.

About the University of Arkansas: As Arkansas' flagship institution, the U of A provides an internationally competitive education in more than 200 academic programs. Founded in 1871, the U of A contributes more than $2.2 billion to Arkansas’ economy through the teaching of new knowledge and skills, entrepreneurship and job development, discovery through research and creative activity while also providing training for professional disciplines. The Carnegie Foundation classifies the U of A among the top 3% of U.S. colleges and universities with the highest level of research activity. U.S. News & World Report ranks the U of A among the top public universities in the nation. See how the U of A works to build a better world at Arkansas Research News.

About NOWDiagnostics Inc.: NOWDiagnostics Inc., based in Springdale, Arkansas, is a leader in innovative diagnostics testing. Its trademarked ADEXUSDx product line features a lab at the tip of your finger, using a single drop of blood to test for a variety of common conditions, illnesses, and diseases, with results in a matter of minutes. By eliminating the need to send tests to off-site laboratories, NOWDiagnostics products have the potential to decrease the waiting period to determine test results by days. For more information about NOWDiagnostics, visit www.nowdx.com. For more information about the ADEXUSDx COVID-19 Test, including its intended use, features, benefits, and directions for use, visit www.c19development.com. The ADEXUSDx COVID-19 Test will be distributed by C19 Development LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of NOWDiagnostics. Laboratories may contact www.c19development.com/order to place an order.

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