Wuhan Virus Test Kit Developed by a Singapore Firm is Expected to be Out by 1 Feb 2020

Imagine this: you’ve a fever and can’t breathe well. You’ve not been to China but somehow, someone had coughed incessantly next to you in the train.

You intend to visit your GP, but before that, you took out something known as a VereCoV Detection Kit, took a test and found out that you might be infected with the Wuhan virus.

As a responsible citizen, you immediately isolated yourself, called the ambulance to tell them about it and ta-da: you just saved millions of people.

Sound far-fetched?

Well, not really, because a Singapore firm, which was previously indirectly owned by Temasek Holdings, is developing such a kit and they’re expecting it to be available by 1 February 2020.

And yes, it was developed after SARS hit the world.

Singapore Firm Developing Wuhan Virus Test Kit & Expect It to be Out by 1 Feb 2020

Veredus Laboratories, a company that used to be owned by a company that is owned by Temasek Holdings (no typo there, it really is a distant relative of Temasek Holdings), is a medical device company in Singapore that specialises in developing portable diagnostic tool kit.

Now, the company is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Sekisui Chemical Co., Ltd.

Established in 2003, the year that SARS shook the world, the company came out with its first product in 2005.

Its goal?

To explore strange new worlds, to seek out—

I mean, to create a device that that can self-diagnose medical conditions within seconds, kind of like those medical tricorders in Star Trek.

And the reference to Star Trek isn’t just a joke.

Its founder, Dr Rosemary Tan, is a Star Trek fan. And it’s a beautiful coincidence that the company released a media release about their latest product on the day that a new Star Trek series, Star Trek: Picard, dropped.

Known as the VereCoV™ Detection Kit, it can identify and differentiate MERS-CoV, SARS-CoV and 2019-nCoV (the Wuhan virus) with high specificity and sensitivity.

In an interview back in 2017 with CNA, its founder had said that whenever a virus emerges, the team would go on wrap speed overdrive, and it showed in their Vere Fever kit, a kit that was produced after the Zika outbreak that can detect Malaria, Dengue, Chikungunya, West Nile, Yellow Fever, Japanese Encephalitis and Zika.

Dr Sato Mitsuharu, the R&D Director of Veredus said, “Given the high transmission rates of SARS-CoV and MERS-CoV, it is inevitable that the 2019-nCoV could possibly result in high incidences of transmission. There are similarities in genetic make-up between these Coronaviruses, however gene mutations in the 2019-nCoV are largely responsible for recent outbreak cases.

“It is therefore critical for our multiplexing assay to provide wide genetic coverage to detect and differentiate these Coronaviruses, particularly to identify 2019-nCoV for appropriate mitigation actions, if necessary.”

And the Captain of Starship Veredus Laboratories added, “This VereCoV Detection Kit will be one of the first commercially available kits in the world with the capability to detect, differentiate and identify all 3 Coronaviruses in  a single test in about 2 hours.

“Time-to-market is crucial as it addresses the need for a fast and easy-to-use detection method. This is something we are confident of as we have previously updated our VereFlu™ Influenza A/B Detection Kit and VereMERS™ Detection Kit to include the then newly emergent pandemic strain H1N1/2009 and MERS-CoV, respectively within few weeks from time of first outbreak.”

Here’s how it looks like:

Image: Veredus Laboratories

According to Business Insider, the kit will be commercially ready by 1 February 2020, though Veredus Laboratories’ media release put the availability date at Q1 2020.


However, do note that it hasn’t been confirmed whether it’d be used by medical practitioners or retail users like us.

Nevertheless, from the looks of it, it’s strong weapon against the Wuhan virus.

And guess how and why the company was formed?

Yeah, you got it right: the company and its products are inspired by SARS.

Now you know why boomers kept on saying, “Oh, Wuhan virus. Don’t worry, luckily got SARS before so now we more prepared liao.”

This Singapore love story set in the 90s shows you why you should never wait for tomorrow. Watch it without crying:

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