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LexaGene Initiates Program to Identify UK and South African COVID Sequences

Using MiQLab system’s open-access capability for rapid test configuration

/EIN News/ -- BEVERLY, Mass., Jan. 13, 2021 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- LexaGene Holdings, Inc., (TSX-V: LXG; OTCQB: LXXGF) (the “Company”), a molecular diagnostics company that develops fully automated rapid pathogen detection systems, is pleased to announce that it has initiated a program that uses the rapid configurability of the MiQLab™ system to investigate novel variants of SARS-CoV-2, the pathogen that causes COVID-19.

SARS-CoV-2 is a pathogen that mutates quickly. New variants were recently identified in the United Kingdom (B.1.1.7)1 and South Africa (B.1.351).2 Both new strains appear to be about 70% more contagious, making containment that much more challenging.3 Also, some scientists are concerned that the South African strain may not be a good match for developed vaccines and antibody-based therapeutics.4,5,6  

Dr. Jack Regan, LexaGene’s CEO and Founder states, “It is hard to estimate the impact of a new variant that can re-infect those who have already been infected or vaccinated. It is critical that we have the capability to not only detect whether the patient is COVID-19 positive, but also whether they are, in fact, infected with a new variant. We need to be able to more quickly and accurately identify new strains at the point-of-care, as this potentially could have helped better contain SARS-CoV-2 at the start of the outbreak.”

LexaGene is pursuing FDA EUA for COVID-19 testing using assays that are predicted to detect >99.9% of the strains circulating today based on published sequences, including the UK and South African variants. Given the suspected higher rate of transmissibility of these variants, it is of clinical importance to be able to distinguish these new variants from the original strain. LexaGene’s MiQLab can be easily configured to run tests for both coronavirus detection and strain identification as it is capable of screening for up to 27 genetic targets at once.

Dr. Regan continues, “We founded LexaGene to fill a critical technology gap in our defenses against new pathogens. LexaGene’s MiQLab is designed to be a point-of-care system that is open-access in nature. Once a pathogen emerges or mutates, the MiQLab system is designed to quickly onboard new tests to detect a desired target, which would speed up timelines for point-of-care testing. Detecting these variants quickly inside hospitals, clinics, and other testing locations maximizes the chances of successfully containing these new threats.”

To date, there is no FDA approved device that is designed for point-of-care usage and is open-access.

LexaGene has designed and ordered components for tests to distinguish the UK and South African strains from the traditional coronavirus strain and will confirm these work as expected on the MiQLab system.

At this time, LexaGene has no plans to incorporate these new tests into the FDA studies for Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) for COVID-19 testing, which began late last month.

As is standard practice, until the FDA grants LexaGene’s instrument EUA for COVID-19 testing, all work using LexaGene instruments is classified as Research Use Only and cannot be used for human clinical diagnostics.

The Company is not making any express or implied claims that its product has the ability to eliminate, cure or contain the COVID-19 (or SARS-2 Coronavirus) at this time.

To be added to the LexaGene email list, please subscribe on the Company website.

On Behalf of the Board of Directors
Dr. Jack Regan
Chief Executive Officer & Director

About LexaGene Holdings Inc.
LexaGene is a molecular diagnostics company that develops molecular diagnostic systems for pathogen detection and genetic testing for other molecular markers for on-site rapid testing in veterinary diagnostics, food safety and for use in open-access markets such as clinical research, agricultural testing and biodefense. End-users simply need to collect a sample, load it onto the instrument with a sample preparation cartridge, enter sample ID and press ‘go’. The MiQLab™ system delivers excellent sensitivity, specificity, and breadth of detection and can return results in approximately one hour. The unique open-access feature is designed for custom testing so that end-users can load their own real-time PCR assays onto the instrument to target any genetic target of interest.

For further information, please contact:

Media Contact
Nicole Ridgedale
Director of Corporate Marketing, LexaGene
800.215.1824 ext 206
nridgedale@lexagene.com

Investor Relations
Jay Adelaar
Vice President of Capital Markets, LexaGene
800.215.1824 ext 207
jadelaar@lexagene.com

The TSX Venture Exchange Inc. has in no way passed upon the merits of the proposed transaction and has neither approved nor disapproved the contents of this press release. Neither TSX Venture Exchange nor its Regulation Services Provider (as that term is defined in the policies of the TSX Venture Exchange) accepts responsibility for the adequacy or accuracy of this release.

This news release contains forward-looking information, which involves known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors that may cause actual events to differ materially from current expectation. Important factors -- including the availability of funds, the results of financing efforts, the success of technology development efforts, the cost to procure critical parts, performance of the instrument, market acceptance of the technology, regulatory acceptance, and licensing issues -- that could cause actual results to differ materially from the Company's expectations as disclosed in the Company's documents filed from time to time on SEDAR (see www.sedar.com). Readers are cautioned not to place undue reliance on these forward-looking statements, which speak only as of the date of this press release. The company disclaims any intention or obligation, except to the extent required by law, to update or revise any forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise.

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1 https://www.ecdc.europa.eu/sites/default/files/documents/SARS-CoV-2-variant-multiple-spike-protein-mutations-United-Kingdom.pdf
2 https://www.eatthis.com/news-cdc-mutant-covid-south-africa/
3 https://www.cnbc.com/2021/01/12/covid-mutations-all-the-major-strains-we-know-about.html
4 https://www.cbsnews.com/news/covid-vaccine-new-strain-south-africa/?ftag=CNM-00-10aag7e
5 https://www.livescience.com/amp/south-african-coronavirus-variant-antibody-resistant.html
6 https://www.livescience.com/south-africa-variant-coronavirus-vaccines.html


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