Hon Stephen Dawson MLC

Hon Stephen Dawson MLC

Minister for Emergency Services; Innovation and ICT; Medical Research; Volunteering

    Groundbreaking WA rapid COVID-19 screening system to help protect remote and FIFO communities

    20/03/2022 11:00 AM

    •        Large-scale trial to help detect COVID-19 in the State's FIFO workforce approved
    •        Avicena Sentinel System is an award-winning Western Australian innovation
    •        The Sentinel System can process more than 90,000 samples daily with results available in under one hour
    •        Another part of the McGowan Government's commitment to safely and sustainably manage the COVID-19 pandemic


    An innovative and industry leading, Western Australian designed, COVID-19 screening system has been approved for use in a large-scale trial to help detect COVID-19 in the State's
    fly-in fly-out workforce and protect remote communities.


    Approval has been granted for medical technology company Avicena to undertake regular screening of workers and contractors in the resources industry under the Sentinel Surveillance DETECT study, in collaboration with Curtin University.


    Sentinel was developed in WA and was a recipient in 2020 of a $500,000 grant from the McGowan Government to assist in the development of the prototype. In 2021, Avicena, was awarded a $150,000 grant through the McGowan Government's New Industries Fund to help establish a facility for the initial production and development of Sentinel.


    The system is designed to rapidly screen up to 4,000 saliva samples an hour or more than 95,000 samples a day. It uses state-of-the-art RT-LAMP chemistry and robotics with accuracy comparable to PCR tests, providing results significantly faster and at a substantially lower cost.


    It is also more accurate than Rapid Antigen Tests in detecting infectious individuals with lower viral loads within the first days of infection and in asymptomatic patients.


    In addition to this trial, the Telethon Kids Institute and Curtin University will be using the Sentinel System to determine the prevalence of COVID-19 in a study for the Perth metropolitan region.


    Two Avicena instruments have already been delivered to European users. 


    Comments attributed to Medical Research and Innovation and ICT Minister Stephen Dawson: 


    "Avicena's Sentinel system is a Western Australian developed innovation that will play a role in protecting the health and safety of our crucial FIFO workforce and remote communities during the trial.


    "The speed of the system lends itself to large-scale screening, including workers arriving on a mine site, and will provide for more rapid isolation responses from infected individuals.  


    "The approval of the use of this study provides another asset in combatting the threat of COVID-19 in the WA community.


    "The results of this study will help us determine how we can continue to strengthen our management of the COVID-19 pandemic and keep Western Australians safe."  


     Comments attributed to Avicena Executive Chair and Co-founder Dr Paul Watt: 


    "We are delighted to be able to contribute to safeguarding the health and security of Western Australians with our innovative Sentinel technology that has been developed entirely in our own State."

    Minister for Medical Research's Office - 6552 5800