Care homes and hospitals are to get rapid testing kits, capable of detecting COVID-19 and other viruses within 90-minutes, the government has announced.
The Department of Health and Social Care has today announced the tests will be rolled out in order to boost testing capacity further, as preparations begin for a second wave and the autumn flu season.
Two tests will be made available, including the rapid LamPORE test, which can process swab and saliva samples to detect the presence of COVID-19 in 60 to 90 minutes.
The new test has the same sensitivity as the widely used PCR swab test, but can be used to process swabs in labs, as well as on-location through ‘pop up’ labs.
The desktop GridION machine can process up to 15,000 tests a day, or the palm-sized MinION can process up to 2,000 tests a day for deployment in a near-community ‘pop-up’ lab.
Ministers said 450,000 of the new LamPORE tests will be available from next week across adult care settings, NHS laboratories and lighthouse laboratories, with millions more tests to be rolled out later in the year.
And 5,000 DNA ‘Nudgebox’ machines, supplied by DnaNudge, will be rolled out across NHS hospitals in the UK to analyse DNA in nose swabs, providing a positive or negative result for COVID-19 in 90 minutes, at the point of care.
The machines will process up to 15 tests on the spot each day without the need for a laboratory.
Regius Professor Chris Toumazou FRS, CEO and co-founder of DnaNudge and founder of the Institute of Biomedical Engineering at Imperial College London, said: ‘The DnaNudge team worked with incredible speed and skill during the peak of the pandemic to deliver this highly accurate, rapid COVID-19 test, which requires absolutely no laboratory or pipettes and can be deployed anywhere with a direct sample-to-result in around just over an hour.
‘We have been able to successfully adapt our in-store consumer DNA testing technology – which identifies genetic risks for chronic conditions related to obesity and type 2 diabetes – and validate it for detecting COVID-19 with gold-standard accuracy.
‘We are extremely proud to be playing such a pivotal role in supporting the national effort on testing, as this major contract award signifies. With the ability to test not only for COVID-19 but also FluA, FluB and RSV on the same single COVID-19 Nudge cartridge, our multiplex test offers a vital solution to protect the NHS as we head into the flu season.’
Photo Credit – Jarmoluk (Pixabay)