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26/08/20 14:21

12-minute COVID tests

£6.76m deal will benefit Scottish manufacturing.

NHS Scotland has agreed a £6.76 million deal to purchase new machines capable of turning around coronavirus (COVID-19) tests in 12 minutes.

UK-based life sciences company LumiraDx will supply 300 rapid testing machines as well as a minimum of 500,000 tests.

Test strips for the small portable machines will be made at the company’s facility in Stirling.

The LumiraDx Platform instruments can be used anywhere and have been designed to meet needs in more remote locations making them ideal for local clinics or mobile units in Scotland’s rural and island communities.

Because the instruments connect to a cloud system, outbreaks of COVID-19 can be tracked quickly by health authorities playing a vital role in Scotland’s Test and Protect strategy.

The test was authorised for emergency use by the US Federal Drug Administration last week and is going through the final stages of validation for use in Scotland and Europe.

Ivan McKee, Minister for Trade, Investment and Innovation, said:

“The contract with LumiraDx to supply 12-minute test instruments to NHS Scotland is great news for communities across the country and for the global fight against this virus.

“The strips that are part of these testing devices will be manufactured in Scotland supporting local jobs and again highlighting the strength of our life sciences industry.

“Our vision is for a Scotland where innovation is an intrinsic part of our culture, our society and our economy and this is one example of the role that our life science sector can play on the global stage.”

Chief executive and chairman of LumiraDx Ron Zwanziger said: “We designed our high-sensitivity Platform to deliver fast, accurate and actionable diagnostic results near to the patient.

“We are proud to have a strong presence in Scotland with our research and manufacturing teams here and look forward to working with Scotland’s health systems to address the COVID-19 crisis in a way that’s affordable and accessible in community care settings.”

Background

LumiraDx is UK-based with headquarters in London, research and development and manufacturing in Stirling and sales offices in Arbroath.

The test detects COVID-19 antigen protein from a nasal swab with results in under 12 minutes in symptomatic patients. Other rapid tests currently being trialled produce results in an average time of 90 minutes.

Following the initial order of 500,000 tests the Scottish Government anticipates a four nations agreement for future procurement.