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British company ramps up production for COVID-19 test kits

United Kingdom

A British company is ready for the front line in the fight against the coronavirus pandemic.

Each of these small vials contains enough material for fifty diagnostic tests according to PrimerDesign. The molecular diagnostics division of the British company Novacyt, will confirm whether or not someone has COVID-19.

“What we’re doing in here is manufacturing, so all the components are manufactured, all chemicals are manufactured in here, once they’re manufactured the core ingredients of the kit are put together and then they’re shipped out to customers, the customers then take these components which come freeze dried, they re-suspend them with a liquid and then they can use the test on these instruments in order to test for COVID-19”, Adam Herridge, Product Manager at PrimerDesign said.

So when our kit detects COVID-19 these lines represent the fluorescent signal that's generated.

Novacyt aims to offer its test kits to its customers in fifty countries around the world. To this end, it has doubled its production in the last two weeks.

The kit allows doctors and other medical personnel to take a sample from a potentially infected patient using a swab taken from the nose or the back of the throat.

The test determines whether a person is infected by looking for the genetic material of the virus, RNA in a patient’s cells.

Dr. Paul Olad imeji is Head of Research and Development PrimerDesign.

“So these are the results. So when our kit detects COVID-19 these lines represent the fluorescent signal that’s generated. So on the red we can see that’s our positive control, so that let’s us know that our kit is working, however, what has happened with the sample ? Here you can see the blue line which is our sample also producing a positive result. So this is how we know this sample was positive”, Dr. Olad Imeji said.

In addition to a number of governments, PrimerDesign claims that its kits are sold to private clinics around the world, including the Middle East.

The company will not confirm the exact number of kits it currently produces, but its parent company Novacyt says it has already received just over $2.8 million in orders.

It said it has purchased enough raw materials to manufacture 3.5 million COVID-19 test kits.


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