CareStart COVID-19 Antigen test kit using NanoAct launched in the U.S.

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CareStart COVID-19 Antigen test kit developed by Access Bio, Inc., using Asahi Kasei’s NanoAct cellulose nanobeads, received Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) from the U.S. FDA, and its sale in the U.S. has begun.

NanoAct™ colored cellulose nanobeads were developed by Asahi Kasei by utilizing its core technology of cellulose processing. They are currently used as labels for lateral flow immunochromatographic assays, mainly for influenza.

NanoAct™ was adopted by Access Bio, Inc. for use in CareStart™ COVID-19 Ag as it is available in a wide range of colors and enables better visibility of test lines, which improves usability.

The continuing spread of COVID-19 has raised the importance of rapid screening. Demand for rapid test kits is rising because unlike polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests, they require no special equipment. Access Bio, Inc., the world’s leading manufacturer of rapid test kits for malaria, developed CareStart™ COVID-19 Ag to rapidly detect antigens of SARS-CoV-2, the virus which causes COVID-19. Clinical evaluations indicate that CareStart™ COVID-19 Ag provides a sensitivity of 88.4% and specificity of 100%, which is comparable to reverse transcription (RT)-PCR testing. Furthermore, CareStart™ COVID-19 Ag provides results in 10 minutes while PCR generally takes 1 or 2 days. In addition, the availability of NanoAct™ in multi-color variation enables different colors to be shown, such as blue for the test line (T) and red for the control line (C), which allows easier judgment as a user-friendly test kit.

CareStart™ COVID-19 Ag has also obtained CE Mark certification, and it is scheduled to be launched in Europe, Southeast Asia, and Africa.

In addition to various diagnostic test kits for COVID-19 and influenza, NanoAct™ is also expected to be used in multi-testing kits that enable simultaneous testing for several infectious diseases. Such kits are increasingly being developed by many diagnostic kit manufacturers in the U.S., Europe, and Asia. Asahi Kasei will continue to leverage NanoAct™ technology to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 and other infectious diseases.

About the Asahi Kasei Corporation
The Asahi Kasei Corporation is a globally active diversified technology company with operations in the Material, Homes, and Health Care business. The Material division encompasses fibers & textiles, petrochemicals, performance polymers, performance materials, consumables, battery separators, and electronic devices. The Homes division provides housing and construction materials to the Japanese market. The Health Care division includes pharmaceuticals, medical devices, and acute critical care devices and systems. With more than 40,000 employees around the world, the Asahi Kasei Group serves customers in more than 100 countries and achieved sales of 17.6 billion euros (2,151.6 billion yen) in the fiscal year 2019 (April 1, 2019 – March 31, 2020). Asahi Kasei is Japan’s largest polyamide supplier and is one of only four fully integrated polyamide manufacturers worldwide – able to produce PA 6.6 completely from monomer to compound.