Government deploys first British-manufactured COVID-19 antigen tests

Two million rapid lateral flow antigen tests from Derby-based SureScreen Diagnostics to be delivered by Friday

Millions of lateral flow tests are being rolled out to test people who may be infected with COVID-19 without experiencing symptoms

The Government has ordered two million of the first British-manufactured tests for use in asymptomatic testing for COVID-19.

Health and Social Care Secretary, Matt Hancock, has announced a contract with Derby-based company, SureScreen Diagnostics, to provide its lateral flow tests by Friday 15 January.

These tests give results in under 30 minutes.

Hancock said: “It is excellent to be working with a UK firm to deliver millions of these rapid tests, which are being deployed across the country to help protect our communities and most-vital public services.

I’m so grateful to see the British diagnostics industry use their ingenuity and expertise in our shared purpose to protect our communities

“Roughly one in three people with COVID-19 don’t display symptoms, meaning you can infect others unknowingly. This is why asymptomatic testing is so crucial in our fight against the virus, and why I’m so grateful to see the British diagnostics industry use their ingenuity and expertise in our shared purpose to protect our communities.”

Commenting on the contract, David Campbell, director of SureScreen, added: “We believe our rapid antigen tests can really help in screening people both in the community and in clinical settings.

“Routine testing is crucial to help business and schools as well as hospitals and GPs.

“And we are delighted to be working with the Department of Health on this project and that our tests have been recognised by the government and its scientists.”

It is excellent to be working with a UK firm to deliver millions of these rapid tests, which are being deployed across the country to help protect our communities and most-vital public services

Under the Government’s Winter Plan, NHS Test and Trace is already deploying hundreds of thousands of rapid tests to identify asymptomatic cases in care homes, across the NHS, in critical infrastructure workplaces, and food manufacturers, and in partnership with local directors of public health.

In addition to this, the Government’s community testing programme is providing asymptomatic testing through local authorities across the UK.

The SureScreen tests will form part of this important asymptomatic testing activity.

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