Covid testing company hires Boris Johnson’s half-brother, hopes they can ‘open doors’

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Boris Johnson’s half-brother has joined the board of directors of a private “welfare” firm which officials say “is in discussions” with the government over Covid-19 testing.Dr Michael Barnish, medical director of REVIV Global, told the Mirror he hoped investment banker Max Johnson – whose father is Stanley Johnson – would help them “open the doors”.

Until this year, the company provided vitamin injections and “boosts” administered by intravenous infusion.

But REVIV is now branching out into Covid-19 testing – offering private antigen testing for £ 89 each.

And Dr Barnish says lab work for the tests is being done in labs also used by NHS Test and Trace, in ‘unused’ capacity.

REVIV says the tests are offered at cost, make no profit on the program, and donate to the NHS for every test they sell.

Company CEO Sarah Lomas said the appointment of Mr Johnson would be a “critical point” in the “aggressive growth” of the company.



REVIV Private Covid Test

She added: “The current pandemic has created unprecedented opportunities for REVIV. ”

Mr Johnson said he was ‘totally honored’ to join the firm and had been drawn to it while working in Hong Kong because of his ‘work hard, play hard’ lifestyle .

He told the Mirror: “While my primary role at REVIV is focused on securing capital investments and expanding in Asia-Pacific, I am proud to be associated with a company that proactively uses resources available to help meet the challenges. that people across the UK are facing.

Asked about the link between REVIV testing and NHS testing and tracing, Dr Barnish said: ‘They are outside the national system, but we are absolutely happy to work with the national system.

“Personally, I haven’t had any discussions with them, but I know full well that our CEO has – and obviously Max Johnson, et cetera… discussions are ongoing.

“We are happy to support the government’s testing strategy in any way possible.”

And asked if having Mr Johnson on the board would open doors for the company, Dr Barnish said: “Personally, I don’t know, but I hope so.

“We absolutely want to help, but I don’t know what the relationship looks like.”



Max with daddy Stanley

Helen Hayes, Minister of the Shadow Labor Office, said: “Across the country, many people find it impossible to access a Covid test, including key workers in care homes. All alternative tests must be put to use in the wider public interest to address these shortages.

“It is unacceptable for companies to take advantage of government incompetence and charge £ 89 for the privilege of using the same labs as the national testing and traceability system.

“The fact that a relative of the Prime Minister is now employed by the same company is worrying. Such a link must in no way influence government decisions which must always be taken objectively, fairly and in the national interest.

In a statement released after Dr Barnish spoke to the Mirror, CEO Sarah Lomas said: “Max Johnson has joined the non-executive board of REVIV due to his investment experience in Asia, where he resides.

“His family connection to the British Prime Minister does not give REVIV an advantage in any way, in fact our company is more likely to be penalized.

“We would be happy to have the opportunity to speak with the UK government to share details about HELIIX, our brand new COVID management technology for employers, and how it can actively support the government’s efforts to get people back to work. safely and start rebuilding the UK economy. , but Max Johnson doesn’t talk to them for us. ”

In April, REVIV removed a blog post after the Advertising Standards Authority ruled it suggested the company’s ‘Megaboost’ vitamin drip could be used to prevent Covid-19 .

The post described the “therapy” as “containing a high dose of vitamin C” – and went on to say that “we are also seeing clinical trials in hospitals treating the coronavirus using high intravenous doses of the powerful antioxidant vitamin C , with initial positive results. results. “

Dr Barnish told the Mirror the post was uploaded in error and has since been deleted.

But he added that there had been “very, very interesting” studies in New York and China, where they had “used high doses of vitamin C as a treatment for Covid, and it will be really interesting to see more. where it comes from ”.

Dr Barnish said the lab that processes the tests for the company also works for the NHS.

But he said their company was not taking any capacity away from the national effort – effectively using spare capacity not used by the NHS.

He said each lab had a “fixed proportion” of its output that was set aside for government testing, “and they have machines that are empty the rest of the time. “

He said, “This is why we can build these relationships and this is why other private companies are able to build these relationships because they have even more capacity than they are currently doing.

“Obviously if the government says we’re going to test everyone all the time, and everything will be NHS, they are going to do unlimited testing, then that would be a game-changer.

“But at the moment, the labs have a lot more capacity. These machines are fantastic. ”

“If the government said ‘we’re going to test everyone, all the time… and everything will be NHS and they’re going to do unlimited testing, that would be a game-changer, but right now the labs have a lot more capacity. “

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