UK government announces partnership with British rapid test manufacturers

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Close up of doctor hands with protective gloves and PPE suit, showing a test device to senior patient. Review of a Rapid Antigen Test for SARS Covid-19.

By Caribbean News Global Caribbean News Global fav UK government announces partnership with British rapid test manufacturers

LONDON, England – The Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) has agreed contracts with, Omega Diagnostics, headquartered in Alva in Scotland and Global Access Diagnostics, based in Thurleigh.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock, said: “Rapid lateral flow tests are essential to help us identify cases of the virus we otherwise wouldn’t find and preventing the virus from spreading in our workplaces and communities. These tests will help keep businesses open, our children return to school, people to visit their loved ones in care homes safely. British innovation is at the forefront of our response to this pandemic and this partnership with two Great British firms will help us to build back better by tapping into the UK’s domestic talent, ingenuity and industry.”

The contracts with the government are expected to supply rapid lateral flow tests, Department of Health and Social Care announced, to provide manufacturing capacity for up to 200 million COVID-19 lateral flow antigen tests, which detect positive cases quickly in under 30 minutes – meaning positive cases can isolate immediately, breaking chains of transmission.

“This is expected to help prevent the virus from spreading and stop outbreaks from taking hold as restrictions are carefully lifted. Around one in three people who have coronavirus do not have symptoms, so to help stop them from unknowingly passing it on, regular rapid testing is essential to find more positive cases. Lateral flow tests are helping children go back to school, keeping healthcare staff safe and making sure businesses can reopen. Including symptomatic and asymptomatic testing programmes, today the government is on track to surpass 100 million tests carried out in the UK,” the government press release said.

The contracts are expected to create around 470 additional jobs in total, in Alva in Scotland, Thurleigh in Bedfordshire, and more widely across the production line and wider UK supply chain.

Omega and Global Access Diagnostics will have the capacity to produce approximately 2 million tests per week each by the end of May, helping scale up the government’s rapid lateral flow testing programme across the country.

Omega Diagnostics and Global Access Diagnostics are members of the UK Rapid Antigen Test Consortium, a growing coalition of industry scientists and manufacturers, who have come together to secure lateral flow tests and manufacturing capability for the UK.

Mark Radford, executive director of Global Access Diagnostics, said: “This announcement marks the culmination of many months of hard work and collaboration between ourselves and colleagues from the DHSC, the NHS, our supply chain and the diagnostics industry. This will not only deliver in terms of supporting the safer reopening of schools, of the economy and of the life we all long for a year on from the start of this pandemic, it is also an investment in the UK’s resilience and response to future pandemics, both here and overseas. The team at Global Access Diagnostics are proud to be a part of this initiative.”

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