Government orders 50 million antibody test kits that work in 20 minutes and could be ready by June

0
75


Ministers have ordered the production of up to 50 million new immunity tests as part of what experts hope to be a “revolutionary” development in the battle against Covid-19.

A breakthrough from a team of leading British scientists means that by June people will be able to reliably test whether they have developed immunity to the virus – and then be allowed to return to work and socialize as usually.

The new drama comes as Boris Johnson prepares to return to work at Downing Street tomorrow after telling his aides that he is anxious to help fight the virus that almost killed him.

Test users provide a blood test for analysis. Then, like a pregnancy test, if two lines appear after waiting 20 minutes, people know they have the antibodies

Test users provide a blood specimen for analysis. Then, like a pregnancy test, if two lines appear after waiting 20 minutes, people know they have the antibodies

The pandemic reached another dark milestone yesterday as the death toll in the UK exceeded 20,000, or 813 in 24 hours.

Ministers have ordered the production of up to 50 million new immunity tests as part of what experts hope to be a

Ministers have ordered the production of up to 50 million new immunity tests as part of what experts hope to be a “revolutionary” development in the battle against Covid-19. A prototype is illustrated above

Sir Patrick Vallance, the government’s chief scientific adviser, said last month that keeping deaths below 20,000 would be a “good result”.

The new immunity tests, which are expected to cost £ 10, were designed by scientists from Oxford, working for the government-supported Rapid Testing Consortium.

Test users provide a blood specimen for analysis. Then, like a pregnancy test, if two lines appear after waiting 20 minutes, people know they have the antibodies. A line means that they are either vulnerable to infection with a coronavirus, or that the test has failed.

As part of developing the plans, the user would take a picture of the positive result and send it to a central processing unit, which would enter their coordinates into a database.

The consortium estimates that it could produce up to 1 million “side-flow” tests per week by summer, or 50 million by next year.

Health Minister Lord Bethell said last night, “This is a great story of how our manufacturers are taking up the Covid challenge, and I hope their product will have an impact in our battle against this terrible disease. “

However, the plan is likely to be skeptical due to the ministers ’struggle to meet the current target of 100,000 tests a day for those who fear they may be carriers.

A government website missed home virus testing for key employees on Friday in just 15 minutes.

The government’s plan also defies the World Health Organization’s view that countries should not issue so-called “immunity passports” to facilitate locking, as there was no evidence that the people who had developed antibodies after recovering from the virus were protected from a second infection.

In other developments:

  • The ministers planned to quarantine all foreign travelers, including returning British citizens, for fifteen days;
  • The Chairman of the 1922 Conservative Committee, Sir Graham Brady, warned Mr. Johnson that prolonging the lockout “longer than necessary would have its own record of mass unemployment, commercial bankruptcy and catastrophic deterioration in public finances”, while that conservative and big city donor Michael Spencer called on The government will provide a plan to ease the measures, a friend saying “it shouldn’t last a day longer than necessary”;
  • Chancellor Rishi Sunak presented options for breaking the lock at a three-hour summit during Mr. Johnson’s Checkers’ retreat and defending the Czech Republic’s five-step plan to lift all domestic restrictions from here June 8;
  • A cabinet minister told the newspaper that it was untrue that Mr. Johnson’s illness made him reluctant to lift the social distancing measures;
  • Former environment secretary Theresa Villiers called on government to open garden centers immediately – view supported by new opinion poll
  • Conservative MPs warned teacher unions not to prevent students from returning to class early;
  • Interior Minister Priti Patel warned that “we are not out of the woods yet” and urged the public to continue to follow the rules of social distancing – while promising to attack “the most sophisticated” criminals who seek to “exploit and capitalize” on the pandemic;
  • An investigation by this newspaper established that wealthy tycoons living in Monaco’s tax haven are using British taxpayers’ money to pay the salaries of staff in their British businesses;
  • Police said there had been 53 attacks on 5G masts amid conspiracy theories falsely linking them to the virus – including a mast serving the new Nightingale hospital in Birmingham;
  • There has been new controversy over the low number of patients treated in Nightingale hospitals; the global death toll has exceeded 200,000.

A government source last night said, “The Prime Minister did all the right things and followed his doctor’s advice to return to work – and he is looking forward to leaving. He announced to the team that he would be back at his office on Monday morning. It gave everyone a huge boost.

“Boris tightens his grip. You’ll see much more clarity, energy and purpose now.

The government should buy the new tests to use them in order of priority, starting with key workers. Consortium leader Jonathan Allis said, “We are on the verge of detecting 100% of all cases where people have antibodies. Now it’s all about stepping up the manufacturing process. “

A government source said, “It could be a game-changer – a defining moment in helping us turn the tide on the virus.”

Britain’s first coronavirus “super spreader” helped scientists develop revolutionary £ 10 immunity test they hope to produce 1 m per week

By Glen Owen, political editor of Mail on Sunday

The breakthrough in the development race for what Boris Johnson calls “the people test” came from a combination of forensic detective work and cutting edge diagnostic research at the University of Oxford.

To design an immunity test with the necessary level of precision – as close as possible to 100% – the project scientists had to analyze the blood of those who had been infected with Covid-19, but who had little or no symptoms.

This is where super spreaders such as British businessman Steve Walsh played a key role.

Mr. Walsh, one of the UK’s first super spreaders, contracted the virus at a business conference in Singapore before traveling to the French Alps for a ski vacation and then returning home him in Hove, East Sussex – where he was diagnosed on February 6.

By tracing the network of people who have been in contact with the 53-year-old man – and all those with whom they have been in contact – the scientists were able to test the levels of antibodies in those who had only been slightly infected.

The Steve Walsh Coronavirus Super Spreader is shown above. Walsh, one of the UK's first super-spreaders, contracted the virus at a business conference in Singapore before traveling to the French Alps for a ski vacation and then returning home. him in Hove, East Sussex - where he was diagnosed on February 6.

The Steve Walsh Coronavirus Super Spreader is shown above. Mr. Walsh, one of the UK’s first super spreaders, contracted the virus at a business conference in Singapore before traveling to the French Alps for a ski vacation and then returning home him in Hove, East Sussex – where he was diagnosed on February 6.

Above all, experts, including Sir John Bell, Regius Professor of Medicine from Oxford and a world-renowned immunologist, were also able to analyze the blood of people with early onset disease, thereby facilitating “referral” ultra-sophisticated levels of neutralizing antibodies.

This means that Professor Bell and his team are confident that £ 10 tests can produce a positive immunity result – indicated by a double line on the meter – within 20 minutes of taking a blood test and with a level of accuracy of more than 99 percent.

The imperfect immunity tests the ministers imported from China and other countries at the cost of several million pounds were based on the blood tests of patients admitted to hospital with the virus.

This meant that diagnostic techniques were less sensitive, as tests could only detect between 50% and 60% of people who had an immune response to Covid-19.

Six weeks ago, when we realized in Downing Street that the imported immunity tests weren’t suitable for their purpose, Mr. Johnson organized a “test summit” to discuss plans to test both immunity and the rollout of tests for people with the virus – who are now the subject of the controversial target of 100,000 a day by Health Secretary Matt Hancock.

Professor Sir John Bell is illustrated above

Jonathan Allis of Blue Earth Diagnostics is pictured above

Above all, experts, including Sir John Bell, Professor Regius of Oxford Medicine and a world-renowned immunologist, were also able to analyze the blood of people with early stage disease, thereby facilitating “referral” ultra-sophisticated levels of neutralizing antibodies. Professor Sir John Bell is pictured on the left, while Jonathan Allis of Blue Earth Diagnostics is pictured on the right

A source close to the project said, “Boris was very enthusiastic, especially about immunities, which he called a” test of the people. “

“This raised the encouraging prospect that workers could brandish an” immunity certificate “or even a bracelet and return directly to normal life. “

As Professor Bell and his team refined the test, entrepreneur Jonathan Allis, founding CEO of Blue Earth Diagnostic, was commissioned by Mr. Hancock and Minister of Health Lord Bethell – assisted by public relations guru Roland Rudd – to establish its mass production via the Rapid Testing Consortium.

The consortium aims to exploit the mass production techniques of the diagnostic companies Abingdon Health in England, BBI Solutions in Wales, Omega Diagnostics in Scotland and CIGA Healthcare in Northern Ireland, which have the combined capacity to produce up to 50 million immunity tests each year. . But with Mr. Hancock struggling to reach his own target for testing people who fear having the virus, the consortium is likely to be skeptical of its ability to produce the million tests hoped for per week by then. summer.

Most tests were booked yesterday on the government’s website within one hour of reopening, and home test kits became unavailable within 15 minutes of the start of reservations. However, the source of the project insisted that the consortium companies have the capacity to “develop” production “in all corners of the United Kingdom” by adapting the so-called “lateral flow” blood tests which are already used for conditions such as HIV. .

The source said, “Jonathan and the team work up to 20 hours a day, seven days a week – literally 24 hours a day. There is a huge determination to do this as quickly as humanly possible. “

The state treasury is funding the project and scientists expect the government to buy the kits before deciding how to allocate them after key workers receive them.

As part of plans that are still in their infancy, users would take a picture of the positive result and send it to a central Covid “hub” which would enter the results into a national database, accessible on a phone application. mobile.

Experts also hope that nationwide mass testing will also help to better understand the mysteries of Covid-19 immunity: how long it lasts and, more worryingly, whether people can catch the virus more than one time.

The mysteries of immunity

The World Health Organization has warned that “immunity passports” can increase the transmission of the virus because there is “no evidence” that those who develop antibodies after recovering from Covid-19 are protected from new infections.

The jury is unlikely to know if antibody tests provide reliable evidence that someone has had a coronavirus and how long they have been immune to the disease, if any. This means that ministers are taking a big bet, but with the potentially huge economic price of getting millions of people back to work.

Tests establish the presence of proteins in the blood called antibodies. These will only exist if the immune system has been exposed to the coronavirus which causes Covid-19 and is expected to prevent viral particles from entering cells and causing infection.

They are different from antigens or “swab tests” that look for the virus itself. Many companies have produced bite test antibodies that can be done at home, but none have so far been found to be accurate enough to meet Public Health England standards.

In particular, the tests gave too many “false positive” results, potentially allowing people to mistakenly think that they are immune.

The hope is that the test developed by scientists at the University of Oxford has overcome this obstacle.

Boris Johnson says he is “impatient to leave” and will start working on Monday to “tighten his grip on the coronavirus crisis and provide more clarity on the response”

By Glen Owen, Harry Cole and Brendan Carlin for Sunday Mail

Boris Johnson will return from his Checkers convalescence tomorrow determined to “tighten his grip” on a government that has often seemed to flounder in his absence.

The Prime Minister told his aides during a three-hour strategic session on Covid-19 that doctors had given him permission to return.

“I can’t wait to leave,” he insisted.

Mr. Johnson, who was released from St Thomas Hospital in central London two weeks ago, spent the past week going back to something closer to a normal workload, making calls Ministers, work on official documents and hold a series of – sometimes erratic – meetings on Zoom.

A source said, “Boris is tightening his grip. You’ll see much more clarity, energy and purpose now.

This comes after divisions have opened in government over how to chart a way out of solitary confinement, and criticism from ministers for failing to introduce large-scale testing and failing to provide supplies adequate protective equipment for health workers.

During the three-hour verifiers’ summit, which included cabinet ministers such as Foreign Minister Dominic Raab, Chancellor Rishi Sunak, Cabinet Secretary Mark Sedwill and assistants, including Chief Advisor Dominic Cummings and Communications Director No 10 Lee Cain, Mr. Johnson received a detailed briefing on the political work underway on Covid-19.

Sunak presented an economic plan based on “best practices” that have proven successful in countries like Switzerland, Denmark and Germany.

It is understood that the Chancellor informed Mr. Johnson of a four-point plan to reopen non-essential stores, change working patterns, then open schools – as well as making “hygiene measures” a permanent feature in British workplaces.

Sunak highlighted the projects in Austria, where stores over 400 m2 (4,300 square feet) and hardware and garden centers have already reopened, while in Germany, hairdressers are open as long as staff and customers wear protective clothing.

And he defended the Czech Republic’s five-step plan to lift all domestic restrictions by June 8, focusing on the country’s plans to begin by opening up farmers markets and car dealerships.

Mr. Johnson, who was released from St Thomas Hospital in central London two weeks ago, spent the past week going back to something closer to a normal workload, making calls to ministers, work on official documents and hold a series of - sometimes erratic - meetings on Zoom

Mr. Johnson, who was released from St Thomas Hospital in central London two weeks ago, spent the past week going back to something closer to a normal workload, making calls to ministers, work on official documents and hold a series of – sometimes erratic – meetings on Zoom

According to reports released last week, Mr. Johnson’s serious illness had turned him from a “hawk” who supported an early exit from the lockdown into a “dove” who considered protecting the NHS a top priority.

But this interpretation is disputed by a minister, a close ally of the Prime Minister, who said: “I do not think it is right. He will start showing a leg when leaving the lockout.

The minister added: “The PM evolves in parallel with public opinion. I think public opinion is getting ready for things to change.

“Companies that weren’t supposed to have closed say they will restart.

“People are already doing it. You cannot keep the lock down forever because people are bored and people want to go out.

With regard to seniors, the minister said, “Surely there is a time when you say,” There may be a risk, but thank you very much – I will take that risk myself. I want to see my grandchildren. I don’t want to live four years as a hermit ”. Meanwhile, young people are starting to feel, “I’m 20, I’m in good shape, my chances of getting anything are negligible. Why am I locked up? ‘”

Sources said that in the coming days, Johnson “would immerse himself in briefings with his team and set priorities for the coming week.” The Prime Minister is also expected to brief the Secretaries of State on the progress of their departments in the fight against the virus.

Insider # 10 said, “The Prime Minister has done all the right things and has followed his doctor’s advice to return to work, and he is anxious to leave. He told the team that he would be back at his office on Monday morning – it gave everyone a huge lift.

Cabinet ministers warn that, for all of the planning available, Johnson will ultimately have to make a “horrible political decision” on what he believes to be an acceptable level of community infection rates in the future.

One of them said: “It is very clear that it comes down to what is its tolerated transmission rate? Is 1,000 new cases a day – 4,000? It is a decision to be made by the entire Cabinet, not just four replacements, “referring to the so-called” quad “of the ministers who run Mr. Johnson’s store – Mr. Raab, M Sunak, Matt Hancock and Michael Gove.

The minister added, “The decision is to have a high tolerance for infection, where things really get back to normal, or a low tolerance where social distancing continues for months and we always stand two meters away. of each other.

“There is a middle way, but it is a decision for politicians now, not for scientists. They exposed the consequences, now is the time to decide. It’s an inherently political decision. “

Other ministers urge the Prime Minister to “tie the Labor Party” to any decision to lift the lockdown to prevent the opposition from “arming” any future increase in cases.

One of them said, “Keir Starmer offers to be an adult here and work with us, and we should call him about it.

Teachers ‘unions warn not to “hinder” kids’ return to school when coronavirus lockdown is eased

By Brendan Carlin and James Heale for Sunday Mail

Teachers’ unions are warned not to hinder the return of children to school and to let their parents return to work.

Conservative MPs have raised the alert as union leaders “leaned” on education ministers to delay the reopening of schools.

The quarrel came as Interior Minister Priti Patel said she sympathized “as a parent myself” with the “extremely difficult” plight of parents juggling child care and the need for go back to work.

Speaking at the daily Downing Street virus briefing, she gave “clear assurances to the British public that the government is working around the clock to see how we can get out of this.”

Teachers' unions are warned not to hinder the return of children to school and to let their parents return to work. Conservative MPs raised alert as union bosses

Teachers’ unions are warned not to hinder the return of children to school and to let their parents return to work. Conservative MPs alerted as union bosses “leaned” on education ministers to delay timetable for school reopening [File photo]

But Ms. Patel added that it would be “irresponsible” to now give a timetable for the reopening of schools that do not already care for the children of key workers – to emphasize that the nation “had not come out of the woods” In the fight against the virus.

However, his comments came amid private concerns of some Tory MPs that teachers’ unions are putting up “barriers” to get children back to school as soon as possible.

Last week, the National Association of Schoolmasters Union of Women Teachers (NASUWT) issued five conditions for returning from schools – including a request for teachers to have access to personal protective equipment (PPE), including masks facials, gloves and aprons “if applicable”. .

Ministry of Education guidelines indicate that staff should instead focus on observing “social distancing, hand washing, hygiene and surface cleaning”.

NASUWT Secretary General Patrick Roach also urged the ministers, “Don’t rush to reopen the schools.” Conservative MP David Morris said last night that unions are “rightly concerned about the well-being of teachers and representations to ministers, but that shouldn’t hinder a timetable for reopening schools in the country ”.

Morris said, “Getting our kids back to school is not only vital to their education, it is vital so that parents can return to work and help kick-start the economy.” “

Secretary of Education Gavin Williamson insisted that “no decision has been made on when to reopen the schools.” He added, “I can reassure schools and parents that they will not reopen until scientific advice indicates it is time to do so. “

Last night, the Ministry of Education said that the latest scientific advice has concluded that “staff in non-residential educational institutions do not need PPE, as this is only necessary for professionals providing intimate care for people with a possible or confirmed case of Covid-19 ”.

NASUWT was approached for comment.

High Street stores to close changing rooms and restrooms and limit customers when reopening after coronavirus lockout, report finds

ByNeil Craven for The Mail on Sunday

Buyers will have to follow strict guidelines when reopening high street stores – including being asked to shop alone or buy new clothes without trying them on.

In a series of recommendations developed prior to a highly anticipated lifting of the foreclosure, retail owners were asked to consider closing or restricting access to washrooms and locker rooms, limiting the number of buyers and limiting or remove customer seats.

The report, released today by the British retail consortium, the British Retail Consortium, also advises stores to keep cafes and restaurants closed until further notice, to erect barriers such as screens in plastic at checkouts and consider using one-way systems around stores to maintain social distancing.

Above, a Trade Point employee disinfects the carts outside his branch in North London. Recommendations may see cleaning stations installed to provide hand sanitizer and other hygienic equipment; and automatic cash registers, door handles, lifting knobs and handrails will be cleaned regularly

Ci-dessus, un employé de Trade Point désinfecte les chariots à l’extérieur de sa succursale au nord de Londres. Les recommandations peuvent voir des stations de nettoyage installées pour fournir un désinfectant pour les mains et d’autres équipements d’hygiène; et les caisses automatiques, les poignées de porte, les boutons de levage et les mains courantes seront nettoyés régulièrement

Dans d’autres mesures envisagées, des entrées et sorties distinctes pourraient être utilisées; les portes pourraient rester ouvertes dans la mesure du possible; le paiement en espèces sera déconseillé; des postes de nettoyage pourraient être installés pour fournir un désinfectant pour les mains et d’autres équipements d’hygiène; et les caisses automatiques, les poignées de porte, les boutons de levage et les mains courantes seront nettoyés régulièrement.

Le document de sept pages, approuvé par le syndicat des travailleurs de magasins Usdaw, a été publié alors que les spéculations croissent sur le moment où le gouvernement signalera la réouverture des magasins.

Les derniers chiffres des victimes de coronavirus ont fait une lecture sinistre alors que les décès ont dépassé 20 000. Mais on espère qu’au cours des prochaines semaines, le gouvernement pourrait signaler un réveil progressif de l’économie.

Le Mail on Sunday révèle aujourd’hui que le géant des grands magasins John Lewis élabore un plan pour un programme de réouverture progressive qui, selon les patrons, pourrait être prêt à être activé d’ici le milieu du mois prochain.

Le directeur des opérations du John Lewis Partnership, Andrew Murphy, qui supervise également Waitrose, a déclaré que la mise en œuvre prendrait jusqu’à six semaines et ne serait lancée qu’en étroite coopération avec le gouvernement et les autorités sanitaires.

D’autres magasins, dont B&Q et Homebase, ont commencé à ouvrir des magasins. Homebase en a ouvert 20 hier et a annoncé qu’il tiendrait une réunion demain pour discuter du déploiement du plan dans plus de ses 158 magasins.

En vertu des nouvelles directives, les magasins ont été invités à envisager de fermer les vestiaires ou de maintenir une présence du personnel pour surveiller l'éloignement social, et à déterminer s'il est sûr de garder les toilettes des clients ouvertes ou si elles devraient être ouvertes sur demande.

En vertu des nouvelles directives, les magasins ont été invités à envisager de fermer les vestiaires ou de maintenir une présence du personnel pour surveiller l’éloignement social, et à déterminer s’il est sûr de garder les toilettes des clients ouvertes ou si elles devraient être ouvertes sur demande.

Helen Dickinson, directrice générale du British Retail Consortium (BRC), a déclaré: «Les détaillants suivent de près l’évolution du gouvernement sur les cas où les restrictions pourraient être assouplies et commencent à planifier en conséquence.

«Depuis le verrouillage, de nombreux détaillants ont prouvé que les magasins peuvent être gérés de manière sûre et efficace conformément aux conseils du gouvernement en matière de distanciation sociale. Ces conseils sont le produit des efforts incroyables du commerce de détail pour s’adapter à des circonstances exceptionnelles. “

Le secrétaire général des Usdaw, Paddy Lillis, a déclaré: «Le commerce de détail non alimentaire ne devrait recommencer ses activités que lorsque des conseils d’experts en santé publique sont d’accord. Cependant, nous devons être prêts et nous devons nous assurer que les préparatifs et les mesures appropriés sont mis en place. “

En vertu des nouvelles directives, les magasins ont été invités à envisager de fermer les vestiaires ou de maintenir une présence du personnel pour surveiller l’éloignement social, et à déterminer s’il est sûr de garder les toilettes des clients ouvertes ou si elles devraient être ouvertes sur demande.

Le BRC suggère aux entreprises de calculer la superficie de chaque magasin et de limiter le nombre de clients en conséquence, sur la base des règles de distanciation sociale de 2m (6ft 6ins).

On leur a également dit de retirer les accessoires promotionnels pour permettre aux acheteurs de se déplacer plus librement, de positionner le personnel pour informer les clients de l’étiquette, de limiter le nombre de personnes utilisant les ascenseurs et d’utiliser des barrières pour limiter la longueur des files d’attente.

Il a également été demandé aux gérants de magasins de «réfléchir aux mesures qui seront prises par les gérants et le personnel lorsque les clients ne respectent pas les mesures de distanciation sociale».

Un chef de magasin a déclaré qu’il n’y avait pas d’autre choix que de mettre en œuvre les mesures draconiennes, mais a ajouté: «Comment pouvez-vous faire du shopping sans essayer?»

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here