UK to roll out millions of rapid COVID tests after criticism - International

Grant Boone
August 5, 2020

Tests will be rolled out British hospitals, care homes and laboratories to boost capacity in the coming months.

According to the Gov.UK website, 115,939 coronavirus tests were carried out on Sunday, while nearly 8.4 million tests have been carried out since the outbreak began.

DnaNudge, an Imperial startup headquartered in White City, recently obtained a CE mark for its COVID Nudge test, enabling its additional use in non-clinical locations, including care homes and other public emergency services.

New swab and DNA tests for COVID-19 are about to become available. "We are delighted to be working with the United Kingdom government to support and empower our communities to effectively manage testing at a national and localised level", added Mr Sanghera.

Dr Gary Davies, Hospital Medical Director of Chelsea and Westminster Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust, which is using the test within Chelsea and Westminster's A&E, elective surgery and paediatrics departments, said: " The opportunity to have this highly accurate test - without the need for a laboratory - is helping us to provide the highest quality care for our patients and support for our staff, and offers the best chance of tackling the biggest challenge that the NHS has ever faced, particularly now as we look ahead to the winter flu season. More machines will be rolled out across NHS hospitals from September. The new test, developed by Oxford Nanopore which spun out of Oxford University, has the same sensitivity as the widely-used PCR swab test but can process swabs outside specialist laboratories. "Ever since we founded Oxford Nanopore, our mission has been to create disruptive, high performance technology that has a profound, positive impact on society", Mr Sanghera said.

A palm-sized machine will process up to 2,000 tests a day while the larger desktop machine will be able to analyse up to 15,000 tests. "We are delighted to be working with the United Kingdom government to support and empower our communities to effectively manage testing at a national and localised level".

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Meanwhile, nearly half a million of the new swab tests, called LamPORE, will be available at elder care settings and labs from next week, with millions more to be rolled out later in the year.

Both tests will be able to detect both COVID-19 and other winter viruses, such as flu and respiratory syncytial virus (RSV).

In a statement the company said it had been working with "multiple" clinical laboratories in the United Kingdom to evaluate the performance of its test.

Regius Professor Chris Toumazou FRS, CEO and co-founder of DnaNudge, praised his company's test for being able to bypass the use of a laboratory or pipettes to hasten the process.

Millions of COVID-19 tests able to detect the virus within 90 minutes will be rolled out in Britain, the country's health minister said on Monday, after criticism there has not been enough testing especially in nursing homes.

In the U.S., wait times can be as long as a week for some tests, due to overwhelming demand on laboratories.

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