Derby firm’s 15 minute Covid-19 test helping the NHS

A new rapid antigen test to help with the Government’s test, track and trace programme has been delivered to the NHS in the West Midlands.

Derby-based SureScreen Diagnostics has delivered its 15 minute Covid-19 test kit to the Sandwell and West Birmingham Clinical Commissioning Group.

As well as monitoring coronavirus infections, the NHS group hopes the quick test will increase confidence for clinicians to see more face-to-face patients, so that they can start thinking about resuming normal procedures such as minor operations.

It is even encouraging other NHS sites to use the new tests which can be used at the patient’s side with results ready to read in 15 minutes.

SureScreen Diagnostics is a long-standing expert and provider of drug and alcohol screening in the UK and Europe.

During the coronavirus crisis, the company came up with a new rapid Covid-19 test kit, which is now being exported all over the world.

Its new Eagle Park facility is being used as a packing facility for the test kits.

The business has exported rapid antibody tests to 53 countries, with endorsements and approvals from many leading institutions.

Now it hopes the antigen tests can play a key role in reducing the spread of the infection.

SureScreen director David Campbell said: “We have been working on a rapid antigen test since March, when we first released our antibody test.

“It’s a huge technical challenge, but we are pleased to have achieved excellent results in our trials, and we hope these tests will help the fight against Covid-19 going forward.

“We have launched two fast and very easy to use, swab antigen tests.

“The first one is a visual read test (much like a pregnancy test) which can be used and read without any laboratory equipment, making it perfect for screening in the community.

“The second test uses a handheld reader, which allows us to increase the sensitivity of the test even further.

“The frequency of testing and fast turnaround times on results are both critical to reducing the spread of infections.

“We believe having easier to use and cost-effective tests available will allow greater access to testing.

“We hope that the tests can also help industries who have been badly affected by the virus.

“We are delighted that trials of the devices have been successful for key partners and that we will have the tests available for wider use this month.”