Coronavirus test giving results in 90 minutes UK’s hope to tackle second wave

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The Health Secretary said the ground-breaking tests will give staff and patients “on the spot results” and help in the battle against an expected Winter surge of the deadly virus.

He said they will enable clinicians and NHS Test and Trace to quickly advise on the best course of action to stop the spread of the virus.

The two tests will be able to detect both Covid-19 and other winter viruses such as flu and respiratory syncytial virus (RSV).

They do not require a trained health professional to operate them, meaning they can be rolled out in more non-clinical settings.

Mr Hancock insisted this will bolster the coronavirus response this winter.

“We’re using the most innovative technologies available to tackle coronavirus,” he said. “Millions of new rapid coronavirus tests will provide on the spot results in under 90 minutes, helping us to break chains of transmission quickly.

“The fact these tests can detect flu as well as Covid-19 will be hugely beneficial as we head into winter, so patients can follow the right advice to protect themselves and others.

“I am hugely grateful for the excellent work done by DnaNudge and Oxford Nanopore to push forward these life-saving innovations in coronavirus testing.”

Mr Hancock has come under mounting pressure to improve the UK’s coronavirus testing ability and increase capacity.

The first new test, supplied by DnaNudge, uses DNA to detect the virus and will be rolled out across NHS hospitals from September.

There will be 5,000 DNA machines, to provide 5.8 million tests in the coming months.

Separately, 450,000 ninety-minute LamPORE swab tests will also be available for care homes and laboratories from next week, supplied by Oxford Nanopore.

The DNA ‘Nudgebox’ machines are a small, handheld device that can process samples on-site and detect the virus from a non-invasive nostril swab and will process up to 15 tests on the spot each day without the need for a laboratory.

The new rapid LamPORE test will be able to process swab and saliva samples to detect the presence of Covid-19 in 60 – 90 minutes.

Details of positive test results will be shared with NHS Test and Trace, so close contacts can self-isolate in line with guidance.  

Regius Professor Chris Toumazou FRS, CEO and co-founder of DnaNudge and founder of the Institute of Biomedical Engineering at Imperial College London said: “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.”

Gordon Sanghera, CEO of Oxford Nanopore, said: “LamPORE has the potential to deliver a highly effective and, crucially, accessible global testing solution, not only for Covid-19 but for a range of other pathogens.”

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