New COVID-19 testing technology to give doctors more in-depth results

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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — Knoxville-based biotechnology firm Integrity Laboratories is launching what it calls a game changer for COVID-19 testing and treatment.

The new technology is called AmpliteCt™, which is a viral load indicator. The “viral load” is essentially how much of the virus is in a patient’s system.

When someone gets tested for COVID-19, doctors only know if the patient is positive or negative.

According to Christian Clevenger, CEO of Integrity Laboratories, with AmpliteCt, doctors will also find out the viral load of their patient.

Integrity Laboratories has played a large role locally and nationally for speedy and efficient COVID-19 testing.

Clevenger said his team wanted to take testing through the firm’s emergency use authorization platform a step further, so the results are more beneficial.

“So getting a clinician, really you know, the positive, but then the ability to really look inside that positive and determine, OK, where is this patient in the process of loading up the virus, and more importantly, have they reached the point where they’re beginning to shed this virus,” Clevenger said.

He said knowing what the viral load in someone’s COVID-19 test will be able to help doctors treat patients properly and efficiently.

“You don’t want to waste your convalescent plasma if you have a patient that is a low or maybe an intermediate level of viral load,” Clevenger said.

Clevenger said AmpliteCt will also be able to determine if a patient is contagious or not.

“I think one of the biggest advantages of the AmpliteCt product is, it gives (doctors) visibility to whether the patient is shedding the virus or whether the virus is multiplying,” Clevenger said.

This is how it works: AmpliteCt is achieved through an automated, quantitative methodology that categorizes the concentration of viral genetic material in a patient specimen. The AmpliteCt algorithm leverages several key data points, including cycle threshold (Ct), to accurately stratify COVID-19 positive patients within low, moderate, or high infection designations.

Doctors are given a report that indicates on a graph whether the patient has a low, moderate or high viral load.

Clevenger said doctors will be able to tell at what point a patient is in their COVID-19 process by taking Integrity Laboratories’ COVID-19 test — which AmpliteCt will be included — multiple times over a period of several days.

“If you go into a clinicians office and you feel really poorly, and they take a test and you show up as a high viral load, they’ll probably monitor you, take good care of you and then bring you back for a test a few days later. Well, if you’re a moderate viral load at that point, then the clinician knows that you’re shedding that virus,” Clevenger said.

Clevenger said AmpliteCt will be a game changer for treating COVID-19 because the new technology will be able to offer doctors a clearer answer to the question of “what’s next?”

“That’s going to mean better outcomes for our community, for the people that live around us; it’s going to be better outcomes regionally, and it’s all going to help clinicians to be able to figure out how we treat these patients when they’re in here with different viral loads,” Clevenger said.

AmpliteCt will be available to healthcare providers partnering with Integrity Laboratories starting Feb. 3.

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