COVID-19 Comes to Isolated Pacific Island of Tonga And Cases Soar After Volcanic Eruption and Tsunami
EMERYVILLE, Calif., March 31, 2022 Lucira Health, Inc. (“Lucira Health” or “Lucira”) (Nasdaq: LHDX), a medical technology company focused on the development and commercialization of transformative and innovative infectious disease tests, donated 2,000 LuciraTM Check-It COVID-19 tests, a rapid at-home test with PCR-quality accuracy, for Tonga humanitarian efforts after the eruption of the Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha’apai volcano in January 2022. The Tonga Red Cross Society was immediately on the scene of the disaster providing relief to local communities, as the tsunami reportedly caused waves as high as 49 feet on the low elevation islands.
In February 2022, only two cases of COVID-19 were detected in the capital city of Nuku’alofa located in the South Pacific Ocean, but the island nation subsequently went into lockdown. Cases soared and as of March 17, 2022, over 2,530 cases were reported. Lucira coordinated with the Tongan government’s Ministry of Health and Air New Zealand to donate and deliver Lucira Check-It COVID-19 test kits to protect the health and safety of the staff and volunteers of the Tonga Red Cross Society, who supplied immediate support to affected communities. It is imperative that staff and volunteers test negative on a Nucleic Acid Amplification Test (NAAT) for COVID-19 before interacting with and aiding local citizens.
“We worked quickly to coordinate with Tonga’s Ministry of Health and the Red Cross Society’s Secretary General Sione Taumoefolau to supply our test kits for use by staff and volunteers of the Red Cross Society both before and after their on-site visits to at-risk people on the islands. Health Coordinator Villami Mahe trained everyone on how to conduct our fast, easy-to-use Check-It tests in a few minutes, with results available in 30 minutes. We were pleased that we could provide help to Tonga during this emergency,” said Erik Engelson, Lucira Health’s President and Chief Executive Officer.
The Lucira Check-It test is a Nucleic-Acid Amplification Test (referred to as NAAT). The test fits in the palm of your hand, extracts genetic material from the virus and amplifies it, similar to PCR lab tests, to detect the presence of virus earlier and more accurately than antigen tests. The test uses an approach called reverse transcriptase loop-mediated isothermal amplification (RT-LAMP). It was designed and tested for individuals to use independently and does not require a physician’s prescription or supervised assistance.
There is no additional equipment to purchase, such as a reader or instrument. Each Lucira Check-It test contains everything needed to run a single COVID-19 test. Users get the test device, two AA batteries, sample vial, swab, and simple instructions.
Lucira is a medical technology company focused on the development and commercialization of transformative and innovative infectious disease tests. Lucira’s testing platform produces lab quality molecular testing in a single-use, consumer-friendly, palm-size test kit powered by two AA batteries. Lucira designed its test kits to provide accurate, reliable, and on-the-spot molecular test results anywhere and at any time.
Beyond its COVID-19 tests, Lucira is working on new diagnostic tests including a single test for COVID-19 & Flu as well as other infectious diseases. For more information, visit www.lucirahealth.com.
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