1st UK Deployments of MicrotoxÂ®PD in WastewaterSource: RNS
28 March 2022
("DeepVerge" or "the Company" or "the Group")
First UK Deployments of Microtox®PD Pathogen Detection Systems in UK Wastewater
Environmental Monitoring for Health Protection Post Pandemic Sensors - Integrated Solution Trial for National System of 'Sentinel' Sewage Works
DeepVerge plc (AIM: DVRG), announces that the first six installations of Modern Water Post-Pandemic Microtox®PD pathogen detection systems in wastewater have been deployed to various sites in the UK which form part of the Environmental Monitoring for Health Protection (EMHP) programme, led by the Joint Biosecurity Centre (part of NHS Test & Trace), Defra, academia and water companies. These units, worth £480,000, referred to in the RNS of 28th October 2021 are additional to the £5m Modern Water production orders announced in the RNS of 11th March 2022. Additional Microtox®PD units are expected to be deployed over the next few months in the UK.
The automated, real-time Microtox®PD detection system initially designed for the COVID-19 SARS-CoV-2 virus, has the capacity to detect other dangerous pathogens such as bacteria and infectious viruses including PMMoV[i], Influenza A[ii], Influenza B[iii], and Polio[iv] in wastewater, and E.coli[v] in drinking water on a single chip, using AI, in real-time. These additional pathogens form part of an extension to the development relationship with the Aptamer Group plc. The data collected is then fed into a computer and artificial intelligence is used to predict where public health bodies should target their resources to contain any outbreaks.
The Modern Water Team are working with the Joint Biosecurity Centre, which is part of the UK NHS Test & Trace to trial a national system of 'sentinel' sewage works which act as an early warning system for spikes of the most common variants of the SARS-CoV-2 virus.
The Aptamer Group plc provided their "Optimer" binding agents on the chip to capture the pathogens and Microsaic Systems plc partnered with the Company in the development and validation of the innovative Microtox®PD detection system.
Gerry Brandon CEO DeepVerge plc commented:
"As part of the Environmental Monitoring for Health Protection programme, the Microtox®PD equipment is continuously updated to meet local conditions and information captured is used to build a range of datasets for comparative analysis for the health and safety of the local and regional populations. The installations are important as their routine use will serve as a model for other regional, national and ultimately the global authorities looking for innovative ways to improve the health, safety and overall outcomes of the population from endemic and global pandemic diseases. These are cornerstone installations for us as we commercialise our unique Microtox®PD COVID19 virus and multiplex detection systems."
For further information please contact:
Gerard Brandon, CEO
+44 (0) 7340 055 648
SPARK Advisory Partners Limited
Neil Baldwin/Andrew Emmott
+44 (0) 113 370 8974
Turner Pope Investments (TPI) Limited (Broker)
Andy Thacker/James Pope
+44 (0) 20 3657 0050
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About DeepVerge plc (www.deepverge.com)
DeepVerge is an environmental and life science group of companies that develops and applies AI and IoT technology to analytical instruments for the analysis and identification of bacteria, virus and toxins; Utilising artificial intelligent data analytics to scientifically prove the impact of skincare product claims on skin microbiome for most of the top 20 global cosmetic company clients and remotely detecting and identifying in real-time, dangerous pathogens in wastewater treatment plants, drinking water, rivers, lakes and reservoirs.
JBC Environmental Monitoring for Health Protection (EMHP) (Wastewater) Programme
The Environmental Monitoring for Health Protection (EMHP) programme, led by the Joint Biosecurity Centre (part of NHS Test & Trace), and run in partnership with DEFRA, the Environment Agency, CEFAS, academia and water companies. The programme tests wastewater for RNA fragments of the virus that causes COVID-19 (SARS-CoV-2)and its variants. Samples are taken from wastewater flowing into treatment plants and from key locations across the sewer network.
The programme was set up to build a picture of where the COVID-19 virus is circulating, helping us understand where the virus is circulating in the population and identify future potential spikes in infection early on, so action can be taken to stop transmission.
Wastewater based epidemiology (WBE) reinforces surveillance of the virus, detecting outbreaks not yet reported through clinical testing, supporting on-the-ground interventions, and identifying circulating variants in the population, without the dependency upon adherence from people to undertake tests.
As the threat of variants has emerged, the programme now plays an important role in the identification of mutations of the virus, variants of concern (VOC) and variants under investigation (VUI). This is done through genomic sequencing of positive samples found in wastewater, to track down and isolate new strains and mutations of COVID-19.
Genomic sequencing of our wastewater samples provides an indication of where VOCs and VOIs may be present both nationally and locally.
Insights from wastewater testing are shared with local and national decision makers to support outbreak management plans and take appropriate action to stop further transmission.
Alongside testing programmes and other public health actions, wastewater monitoring is an effective, non-invasive, complementary safety net to help protect against the threat of new variants, as the country closely follows the roadmap out of national restrictions.
The EMHP coordinates with programmes in the Devolved Administrations to provide a UK-wide monitoring network.
About Aptamer Group plc (www.aptamergroup.com)
Aptamer Group develops custom affinity binders through its proprietary Optimer® platform to enable new approaches in therapeutics, diagnostics and research applications. The Company strives to deliver transformational solutions that meet the needs of life science researchers and developers through the use of its proprietary Optimer platform.
Optimer binders are oligonucleotide affinity ligands that can function as an antibody alternative. The global antibody market is currently worth over $145bn. Optimer binders are engineered to address many of the issues found with alternative affinity molecules, such as antibodies, and offer new, innovative solutions to bioprocessing, diagnostic and pharmaceutical scientists.
Aptamer Group has successfully delivered projects for global pharma companies, diagnostic development companies, and research institutes covering a range of targets and applications with the objective of establishing royalty-bearing licenses. Through the unique Optimer technology and processes, scientists and collaborators are enabled to make faster, more informed decisions that support discovery and development across the Life Sciences.
About Microsaic (www.microsaic.com)
Microsaic listed on AIM in 2011 to develop and commercialise micro-engineering chip-based mass spectrometry equipment. Having invested £30m over the last 20 years before and after the IPO, Microsaic has a robust patent portfolio in cutting-edge technology purpose built for "Industry 4.0" which enables analytical detection and characterisation at the point-of-need, whether within a human health environment, conventional laboratory setting, or within a bioprocessing facility for continuous mass spectrometer detection and monitoring of data at any step in the process workflow.
Microsaic's products and systems are commercially available through global markets via a network of regional and local partners, targeting its core laboratory, manufacturing, and point-of-need applications.
[i] Pepper mild mottle virus: In an article from the Applied and Environmental Microbiology Journal, it was found that PMMoV could be a potential indicator of faecal pollution. Their results demonstrate that PMMoV is widespread and abundant in wastewater from the United States, suggesting the utility of this virus as an indicator of human faecal pollution. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pepper_mild_mottle_virus
[ii] Influenza A virus causes influenza in birds and some mammals and is the only species of the genus Alphainfluenzavirus of the virus family Orthomyxoviridae. Strains of all subtypes of influenza A virus have been isolated from wild birds, although disease is uncommon. Some isolates of influenza A virus cause severe disease both in domestic poultry and, rarely, in humans. Occasionally, viruses are transmitted from wild aquatic birds to domestic poultry, and this may cause an outbreak or give rise to human influenza pandemics.
[iii] Influenza B virus is known only to infect humans and seals. This limited host range is apparently responsible for the lack of associated influenza pandemics in contrast with those caused by the morphologically similar influenza A virus as both mutate by both antigenic drift and reassortment
[iv] Poliomyelitis, commonly shortened to polio, is an infectious disease caused by the poliovirus and is usually spread from person to person through infected faecal matter entering the mouth. It may also be spread by food or water containing human faeces and less commonly from infected saliva. Those who are infected may spread the disease for up to six weeks even if no symptoms are present. The disease may be diagnosed by finding the virus in the faeces or detecting antibodies against it in the blood. The disease occurs naturally only in humans
[v] Escherichia coli, also known as E. coli is a Gram-negative, facultative anaerobic, rod-shaped, coliform bacterium of the genus Escherichia that is commonly found in the lower intestine of warm-blooded organisms. Most E. coli strains are harmless, but some serotypes (EPEC, ETEC etc.) can cause serious food poisoning in their hosts and are occasionally responsible for food contamination incidents that prompt product recalls.