Randox Laboratories, the parent company of Randox Food Diagnostics, is partnering with the government to develop a new coronavirus testing programme in which NHS staff will be first in line.
The new service, which will be free, will help to end the uncertainty of whether NHS staff need to stay at home. Those who test negative for coronavirus will be able to return to work – enhancing the capacity of the NHS and social care to treat patients and care for those in community settings, with plans for a full roll-out for health, social care and other frontline workers.
Randox are providing high volume home sample collection kits and laboratory testing, based on two simultaneous tests on the proprietary Randox Biochip.
Randox CEO Dr Peter FitzGerald, said:
“We have an excellent Covid-19 assay and we are committed to supporting the government and this important initiative to test key workers and support vital public services.
“Randox Laboratories is now operational for COVID-19 testing and will be ramping up extensively in the coming weeks. This will provide extensive employment opportunities for laboratory and support staff.
“Our first tests have gone to the London Ambulance Service and we look forward to playing our role in ensuring that this critical capability continues to operate.”
To offer its coronavirus testing capabilities to the new programme, Randox’s Coronavirus Multiplex Array recently underwent evaluation from Public Health England.
In its evaluation of the Randox test, Public Health England’s report noted that the assay correctly identified all positive and negative samples without exception.
As a result the government are proceeding to utilise the Randox Coronavirus Multiplex Array in the new testing programme for NHS staff, with an exceptionally high degree of confidence.
Health Secretary Matt Hancock said:
“We want to save lives, protect the most vulnerable, and relieve pressure on our NHS.
“Healthcare staff are key in our fight against the virus and I want to ensure that any frontline NHS or care worker who has symptoms of coronavirus or who has a family member with symptoms can be tested quickly and reliably.
“I pay tribute to the generosity and public spirit of Britain’s universities, research institutes and companies who have lent us their equipment without hesitation.”
Dr Jenny Harries, Deputy Chief Medical Officer, said:
“Laboratory-based testing on this scale is a little like building the medical equivalent of a car factory. We are assembling many different parts, some of them quite specialised and hard to find, then getting them to work accurately together in a highly co-ordinated process. There are bound to be teething problems, so we cannot switch on hundreds of thousands of lab tests overnight. But we hope that soon these hub laboratories will be operating round the clock, allowing us to significantly scale up our testing.”
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