Scientists in Scotland and Switzerland have developed a new coronavirus antibody test that promises faster results with 99.8% accuracy. The kit has been developed by blood-screening company Quotient. Researchers at Edinburg said that each serological machine developed for the test can test up to 3,000 tests a day.
Researchers at Quotient are now planning to initiate talks with UK ministers amid interest for the machines from Europe. The Scottish government has also assured that it will explore all options to make available the machines as the coronavirus continues to spread. Researchers and scientists across the world have been trying to develop a vaccine and other possible treatments to treat the deadly virus but not much success has been attained so far.
New antibody test promises more accuracy
Researchers at Quotient on Monday said that the new antibody test can produce results in 35 minutes with 99.8% accuracy. Each kit will be used to check if people are immune to Covid-19 by spotting antibodies to the disease. Each screening machine can taste up to 3,000 people every day.
According to the researchers, understanding whether a person has developed immunity towards the deadly coronavirus can help governments and authorities to understand the situation and help ease lockdown if it is clear who is not at risk of catching or spreading the virus. "We are truly proud to have developed such a fast and accurate test. We now want to make sure that we can help as many people as possible as quickly as possible," said Chief executive Franz Walt, who was earlier the managing director of Singapore-based Roche Laboratory.
Quotient ready to initiate talks with NHS
Quotient currently has 12 blood-screening machines available, which can conduct 36,000 tests daily 0r 252,000 tests weekly. The company plans to make available another 20 screening machines by the end of the year. Waltz said that the company has strong roots in the UK and it wants to speak to ministers in the UK so that can be effectively used to tackle the coronavirus and restart the economy.
Quotient has expressed its desire to speak to National Health Service (NHS) officials given the strong interest from Europe in the new screening machine. However, Quotient fears that the NHS could miss out on the machines given that it is already busy with its own tests, while the company is in talks with other countries across Europe.
The UK government has been saying that it has laboratory capability to conduct antibody tests but it is currently being used to survey testing for existing blood samples and the capacity is yet unknown. The UK government is also trying to develop home testing kits but so far they have proved unreliable. Given this scenario, Quotient's new screening machine could be a game changer if the UK government initiates talks with the company and takes its help.