KAUST-developed COVID-19 test kit ready for University community

19 September, 2021

A KAUST-developed COVID-19 RT-PCR test, the Kingdom’s first, is now SFDA-approved and available to the KAUST community and their guests. KAUST startup Noor DX launched the service at KAUST Health last week.

Located in the Core Labs at KAUST, Noor DX provides a full suite of processing equipment using biotech diagnostics developed by Professor of Bioscience Dr. Samir Hamdan and his Rapid Research Response team. President Chan was the first to be tested.

Since the onset of the pandemic, the number of daily PCR tests in the Kingdom has risen from a few thousand to between 75,000 and 110,000 a day. Saudi Arabia has leveraged test kits developed outside the country to meet demand. KAUST’s in-house capability increases self-reliance while reducing the wait and related costs. The result is an economical single-step, multi-use RT-PCR test priced at 140 SAR for university community members and guests, a significant reduction from previous tests priced at 200 SAR.

The service begins at KAUST, and will expand to include communities in-Kingdom. People can expect high accuracy results delivered via QR code technology to their personal devices within 24-hours, with most results returned under 12. Urgent tests are also available for 400 SAR, with results received in less than five hours. Previous tests cost 1000 SAR. Tests for business-related travel are free. Travelers are good-to-go after downloading and printing the report. Book your PCR appointment at a convenient time using this KAUST Health online form.

In addition to being the first Saudi test kit provider, Noor DX will be the first genomics entity in the Kingdom with fully localized capability, offering a portfolio of genomic services beginning in early 2022. The majority of clinical genetic tests are sent abroad. Localized production is strategic to building genomics expertise within the Kingdom.

Noor DX CEO Dr. Abdulaleh Alhawsawi said, “This is a great moment in time, both for KAUST’s ability to provide quality RT–PCR tests, and soon, gene sequencing. Noor DX will cater to Saudi communities with a full range of services and downstream applications, from dry to wet lab technologies to analytics to building the Saudi biobank and national genome.”

KAUST is transforming patient care through its partnerships. Noor DX is among a constellation of experts contributing to robust health services from the areas of academia, economic innovation, biotechnology and biopharma, including Dr. Pierre Magistretti, director of the Smart-Health Initiative; Dr. Samir Hamdan and the Rapid Research Response team; Dr. Arnab Pain, director of the Pathogen Genomics Laboratory; KAUST Innovation; the Core Labs; Office of the President; Office of Research; Department of Health, Safety and Environment; and KAUST Health.