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March 22, 2020

COVID-19 Rapid Response Test Is “Major Milestone”

5:15 pm Pacific


Sona Nanotech (SONA, CSE)

When it comes to winning the war against the Wuhan COVID-19 virus, testing is going to be key.  And on that note, the Sona Nanotech (SONA, CSE)-led consortium that includes GE Healthcare Life Sciences (a subsidiary of GE Electric), Bond Digital Health and The Native Antigen Co. have critical first-mover advantage in the development of a unique rapid response lateral flow screening test that has grabbed the attention of procurement departments of health agencies across the world after news last week of a major breakthrough by SONA and its partners.

What’s so significant about the SONA solution is that it would greatly reduce the front-line burden on health care systems with highly accurate and easy-to-administer screening – the leading lateral flow COVID-19 test – that also provides almost instant results (within 15 minutes) at a fraction of the cost and time of a molecular-based test.

Click on the arrow to learn more in this clip from our fresh interview this afternoon with SONA director Jim Megann.


Check tonight’s Sunday Sizzler for more of today’s interview with Megann, along with an updated SONA chart.

Canada is just one of dozens of examples around the world where testing falls far short of what’s required to win this war against an “invisible enemy”.  Tests are being rationed due in part to a lack of trained staff and as laboratories run into a shortage of supplies (even people who have mild symptoms will not be tested unless they work in a high-risk setting such as a hospital or a long-term care facility).  It’s so bad that the Public Health Agency of Canada has put out an urgent call to university research groups, asking them to donate testing chemicals (reagents) along with other products needed to do expensive molecular-based virus testing.

Testing is not a luxury, experts stress.  Rather, it is the key to containing the spread of the virus.  Only by knowing who is infected can public health officials stop the chain of infection.  “What we really need to focus on is finding those who are sick, those who have the virus, and isolate them, find their contacts and isolate them,” started Mike Ryan, the World Health Organization’s top emergency expert, in an interview with the BBC.  Ryan said that the examples of China, Singapore and South Korea, which coupled restrictions with rigorous measures to test every possible suspect, provided a model for Europe, which the WHO has said has replaced Asia as the epicenter of the pandemic.

SONA Breakout 

SONA surged to a new all-time high at the end of last week, breaking out past key resistance at 95 cents Friday on the prospect of first test kit purchase agreements within days.

Three key highlights from SONA’s news last Wednesday:  

  • SONA and its partners have positively identified the viral antigens in COVID-19, allowing for the commencement of a functional prototype of the COVID-19 Rapid Response Test;
  • SONA’s COVID-19 test will offer a unique advantage over other lateral flow tests as it detects the presence of the COVID-19 virus.  To date, the only competitive lateral flow tests that have been announced for sale are serological assay tests, which are designed to identify IgM and IgG antibodies present post-infection.  Serological tests are susceptible to producing false positive and false negative results if a patient is suffering from any one of a variety of unrelated infections (such as ear or tooth infection, regular flu, and so on).  SONA’s test is being developed to indicate a positive result only when the COVID-19 virus is present, allowing for direct and clear interpretation with results in 15 minutes or less;
  • SONA has been approached by and is currently in discussions with health departments of multiple countries regarding the provision of COVID-19 Rapid Response Test kits.  Simultaneously, the company is advancing discussions with manufacturers in several countries in order to facilitate production protocols reflective of their country’s regulatory compliance regime, many of which have been reduced.  Some countries are expected to allow manufacturers to move immediately from prototype to sale.

Note:  John and Jon hold share positions in SONA.


  1. Thats great to hear for the world on being able to get test results back, up north we are 6-8 days for results, way to long…..as well as the sp on this should go crazy, great job bmr

    Comment by Silverhook — March 22, 2020 @ 5:24 pm

  2. Hi Jon,

    Cepheid has just gotten approval for a 45 minute turn around test. Is it it complementary in terms of the incredible need? Different technology? Different market? Can Sona with what sounds like a simpler test to produce meet the awesome market need for high volume out put faster? Maybe everyone with an accurate test is a winner for awhile?

    Since Sona’s test is antigen specific, will it have greater flexibility to
    develop a new test if the virus mutates in the future?

    I suspect the experts don’t have the answers to all the questions, but even some qualified answers to any of these issues would be useful.

    Thanks in advance, Boz67

    Comment by Boz67 — March 22, 2020 @ 6:33 pm

  3. Different technology (not lateral flow) and a lot more complicated and expensive to roll out on a mass scale, Boz67…what we’re hearing is that quite a few scientists are chuckling at what came out on this yesterday, but more details need to be learned…we have to hope for any success at addressing this pandemic, but the reality is that the Cepheid news is irrelevant to the unstoppable unique path that Sona and GE are on…with the backing of GE on this, and the fact this Sona-Led consortium features the brightest minds in the lateral flow space with proven track records, the demand for this product from health agencies around the globe is going to be incredible…

    Comment by Jon - BMR — March 22, 2020 @ 6:47 pm

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