New 90-minute tests to help fight coronavirus and flu in winter


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Two tests that can diagnose coronavirus and influenza within 90 minutes are expected to be introduced in hospitals, nursing homes and laboratories as the country braces for the pandemic in winter.

Nearly half a million LamPORE swab tests will be deployed in adult care homes and laboratories starting next week, with millions more available in the coming months.

Swab and DNA testing will help doctors and the NHS test and trace system differentiate viruses, allowing people with Covid-19 to self-isolate effectively.

Some 5,000 DNA testing machines, which analyze nasal swabs, will be delivered to NHS hospitals from September and are expected to deliver 5.8 million tests later this year. The machines, provided by DnaNudge, are already in use at eight London hospitals.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock said: “Millions of new rapid coronavirus tests will deliver results on the spot in less than 90 minutes, helping us quickly break the chains of transmission.

“The fact that these tests can detect influenza as well as Covid-19 will be extremely beneficial as winter approaches, so that patients can follow the right advice to protect themselves and others.

Mr Hancock thanked DnaNudge and Oxford Nanopore for “the excellent job” they have done to “advance these vital innovations in coronavirus testing”.

The government’s announcement follows a leaked memo from Professor Jane Cummings, the government’s director of adult social care testing, which led the Department of Health and Welfare to deny he had abandoned his commitment to regularly test nursing home residents throughout the summer.

Professor Cummings informed local authority leaders that “the previously stated timelines for the deployment of regular testing in nursing homes” were affected by “unexpected delays”, Sunday Times reported.

Tests were postponed from July 6 to September 7 for the elderly and people with dementia, a spokesperson for the department confirming it was experiencing problems with “asymptomatic retesting.”

According to the same newspaper, nearly two-thirds of healthcare facilities have not yet had their first round of asymptomatic tests.

Professor Chris Toumazou, co-founder of DnaNudge and founder of the Institute of Biomedical Engineering at Imperial College London, said: “The DnaNudge team worked with incredible speed and skill during the peak of the pandemic to deliver this fast and very accurate Covid-19. test, which requires absolutely no laboratory or pipettes. ”

Gordon Sanghera, CEO of Oxford Nanopore, said: “LamPORE has the potential to provide a highly efficient and, most importantly, accessible global testing solution, not only for Covid-19 but for a range of other pathogens.


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