New coronavirus anti-body test launched by UK laboratory

20 April 2020, 18:52

Microscope image shows the spherical particles of the new coronavirus, coloured blue
Microscope image shows the spherical particles of the new coronavirus, coloured blue. Picture: PA

By Matt Drake

A diagnostics company has launched a new lab-based coronavirus antibody test which can produce 46,000 results a day.

Mologic said it will start manufacturing its laboratory diagnostic test for Covid-19 after the tests were validated by both the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine and St George's, University of London.

The test has now been sent to Public Health England for formal verification.

It will allow individuals to identify whether they have antibodies for the virus - produced by the immune system when it is being attacked.

An agreement between Mologic, which was visited by Prime Minister Boris Johnson last month, and Omega Diagnostics Ltd will see Omega immediately start manufacture of Mologic's first-generation ELISA diagnostic tests.

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Boris Johnson during a visit to the Mologic Laboratory in the Bedford technology Park in Bedfordshire,
Boris Johnson during a visit to the Mologic Laboratory in the Bedford technology Park in Bedfordshire,. Picture: PA

The test is expected to produce up to 46,000 results per day, potentially contributing a significant portion of the UK Government's planned 100,000 tests per day.

Mologic will make the technology and materials for its tests available for use in Africa through a partnership with the Institut Pasteur de Dakar in Senegal.

Since March, laboratories across the world have partnered with Bedfordshire-based Mologic to evaluate a variety of diagnostic prototypes and independently assess performance.

While the assessment and optimisation has been expedited, it is important that any prototype device for Covid-19 is subject to rigorous validation before it is made available for use in the global pandemic response.

Mark Davis, chief executive of Mologic, said: "The launch of Mologic's laboratory-based test for Covid-19 is an exciting development in our efforts to support the global pandemic response.

"With the capability to process tens of thousands of test results every day, these kits will relieve immediate testing pressures in the UK and Africa."

Dr Joe Fitchett, medical director at Mologic, said: "Alongside the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine and St George's, University of London we launched a radically open, responsive, and rapid validation model to accelerate the submission of our Covid-19 diagnostics to Public Health England and for regulatory approval.

"Our laboratory and point-of-need tests will allow individuals to detect whether they have antibodies to Covid-19 and bring us one step closer to improving access to high-quality diagnostics."

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