Hunting down the virus in the community will help resolve lab-based logjams and avoid lockdowns
This has been a pandemic characterised by hasty fast-tracking of unproven/non-useful testing technologies. A suitable technology may still be weeks or even a few months away from widescale use. We would ask Government to patiently assess the data and support the development of the best UK science-backed test, rather than settling for an instantly deployable second-best.
Milltrust British Innovation Fund investee company Attomarker is one candidate. A spin-out company from the University of Exeter, it has developed a diagnostic platform producing quantitative, Cloud-linked data in seven minutes, with high accuracy – 96% sensitivity for its COVID-19 Triple Antibody Test. It is now developing a saliva-based test for the detection of SARS-CoV-2 antigens – have you GOT the infection? – and specific IgA, IgM and IgG – have you HAD the infection? – simultaneously, as well as C-reactive protein.
This is work in progress, but we have already been able to detect both antigens and antibodies in spiked saliva samples in seven minutes and are now looking to quickly validate the technology on real patient samples.
Discussions with manufacturers have confirmed the capacity to roll out 1,000,000 tests weekly very early in 2021.