Avacta (LON:AVCT) has announced a corroboration with AIM-listed Integumen (LON:SKIN) to develop an early warning testing system for the presence of COVID-19 proteins in waste water.

The detection sensors are to implemented through Modern Water’s Microtax water contamination systems which can detect bacteria in waste water through their 3,000 installations.

“Multiple international commercial opportunities exist beyond individual equipment unit sales, with all three parties standing to enjoy long-term recurring revenues generated through the supply of Affimer® reagents in each of the proprietary consumable test cartridges, AI-as-a-Service predictive alerts and maintenance contracts,” said Barry Gibb, Research Analyst at Turner Pope Investments.

Mr Gibb continued to highlight the potential size of the target market and how such a system could facilitate some parts of the economy returning to normality.

“The true scale of this opportunity is perfectly demonstrated by, for example, the global cruise line industry which handles 32 million passengers in a market annually worth US$31.5 billion, yet is likely to remain entirely disabled with passengers effectively uninsurable until perpetual coronavirus monitoring, detection and testing systems are installed.”

“In this respect, Avacta, Integumen and Modern Water appear to have not only rapidly recognised one of the world’s most pressing needs, but are also combining their core competencies and well-established worldwide marketing reach to develop and distribute a unique, seemingly unmatched technological package of potential global significance,” Mr Gibb concluded.

Avacta’s Affimer technology will be evaluated over the coming weeks with test being held at the University of Aberdeen. If proved successful, Integumen will commercialise the detection sensors.

“Affimer reagents are ideal for applications such as this, not only because of their sensitivity and specificity, but also because of their robustness, which is essential when being deployed in real-world situations, such as real-time waste water analysis,”  said Dr. Alastair Smith, Chief Executive of Avacta Group.

“With the spread of COVID-19 continuing to accelerate globally, we are proud to work with partners like Integumen to provide our Affimer reagents for development on a range of platforms to combat the pandemic. This collaboration has the potential to deliver a product that will play a crucial role in the early detection of COVID-19 hotspots around the world.”