Wales-based firm develops COVID-19 test companion app


Wales-based Bond Digital Health is part of a global consortium that is producing a rapid diagnostic test for COVID-19. The antigen test, produced by Canadian company Sona Nanotech, uses a nasal swab to provide a result in 15 minutes without the use of either laboratory equipment or a reader system.

The test can be used as a tool to rapidly identify patients infected with the virus. It is currently being assessed for approval by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and Health Canada for emergency use authorisation.

Bond developed a complete end-to-end system with a mobile app for test users and a web dashboard providing geo-mapped data analytics for health agencies. The system, called Sona Connect, is powered by Bond’s Transform technology.

Sona Connect, which was launched this month on the Google Play store, allows users to capture the result and upload it along with a photo of the test and relevant epidemiological information like age and underlying health conditions. This creates a digital record that is instantly sent to a secure cloud for reference and analysis. In the web dashboard, relevant stakeholders can view and share the information and use it to map test results, monitor the spread and ultimately manage the outbreak.

Phil Groom, commercial director of Bond Digital Health, said: “It’s taken months of hard work from our team to deliver the first real-world application of our Transform technology in the market for an infectious disease.

“We’re proud that our technology will supercharge Sona Nanotech’s COVID-19 rapid antigen test with a user friendly, real-time data platform that will help us all return to normality safely and confidently.

“This is the first of many lateral flow tests that we are making better with data.”

Darren Rowles, president and chief scientific officer of Sona Nanotech, said: “Sona Connect, powered by Bond’s Transform technology, adds value and functionality to Sona’s test across diagnostic, surveillance and reassurance testing use case scenarios, helping authorities detect, manage and control the spread of this outbreak.

“We’ve been impressed at how quickly Bond has created this platform for us and at the quality of the final product, and we look forward to continuing our productive partnership.”

Earlier this year Bond was awarded more than £200,000 in government grants to help it develop Transform – £177,979 from the Welsh Government and £49,796 from Innovate UK.