xprize semis

Indian American founders of RICOVR Himanshu Bhatia (left) and Piyush Sadana. (ricovr.com photos)

Princeton, New Jersey- based RICOVR Healthcare, an innovative rapid diagnostics platform company founded by two Indian American entrepreneurs, announced Sept. 29 that its revolutionary point-of-care COVID-19 antigen test was selected for the semifinals in the XPRIZE Rapid COVID Testing competition.

RICOVR’s patented biosensor platform uses a small drop of saliva to provide high-quality, cost-effective results in approximately five minutes, the release said.

“We are proud to move into the semi-finals with our groundbreaking COVID-19 point-of-care antigen test. Our technology is differentiated from the other molecular and antibody-based tests in that it can detect the presence of active viral particles on-the-spot without needing specialized sample preparation,” Himanshu Bhatia, RICOVR founder and CEO, said in a statement.

“This can be a game-changer in the management and control of COVID,” the Indian American entrepreneur said.

Society’s most vulnerable citizens and populations are disproportionately affected by Covid-19, with tests being inaccessible, too expensive, or too slow, the release said.

Communities are being forced to shut down. Economies are crippled due to Covid-19. 

Launched on July 28, 2020, XPRIZE Rapid COVID Testing is a $5 million, a six-month competition that aims to increase COVID-19 testing capabilities 100-times past our current standard, the level of increase needed to more safely return to everyday activities.

More than 200 teams moved on to the semifinals after being assigned a “pass” by XPRIZE judges. Semifinalist teams will be sent a blinded Proficiency Test Kit and be required to accurately identify which samples contain COVID-19.

Teams will have one week to submit their results to the XPRIZE Data Collaborative, where their results will be scored on specificity, sensitivity and limits of detection, the release said.

Finalists will be announced on Oct. 23, and from there they will have two weeks to send their testing kits and protocols to two separate laboratories for clinical validation.

To ensure fair competition with comparable results, samples within each lab will be split and tested across multiple tests, the release adds.

A $1 million grand prize will be awarded to each of the top five teams that develop frequent, fast, cheap and easy COVID-19 screening solutions that help meet the surging demand for tests, and relieve the global supply chain. Final event details will be shared at a later date, the release said.

“This is another testament of our robust diagnostics platform, which has been developed over the years with rigorous research,” said Piyush Sadana, COO and co-founder of RICOVR. “We are working expeditiously to bring the COVID antigen test to the market to help the government, businesses, schools, and healthcare systems save human lives and resume economic activities.”

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