AlphaBiolabs has launched a coronavirus testing kit for UK businesses which gives results within 15 minutes, by identifying the presence of the Covid-19 antigen.
It is one of the world’s first rapid screening kits of its kind, and can detect Covid-19 after the onset of symptoms or from 14 days after initial exposure to the virus.
The new test, which works in similar fashion to a pregnancy test, detects specific proteins, known as antigens, which are situation on the cell membranes of the virus.
The Warrington-based testing firm believes the kit to be the first of its kind to be made available to companies across the UK to help them amid limited testing availability.
It is the latest addition to AlphaBiolabs’ portfolio of coronavirus testing services for businesses. The company is already providing Covid-19 PCR testing at its new laboratories at Sci-Tech Daresbury in Cheshire.
The rapid antigen testing kit has been developed following huge demand from companies seeking to screen their staff without having to wait days for the results to become available following laboratory analysis.
Once samples have been taken from the nose and throat, the result is known within 15 minutes. No lab analysis is required, as the result is made known via a portable immunoassay screening cassette.
AlphaBiolabs’ complete kit costs from £40 plus VAT and includes GDPR-compliant documentation and policy advice.
The company says the test has an accuracy rate for identifying Covid-19 specific antigens of up to 97.6 per cent.
David Thomas, managing director of AlphaBiolabs, said: “We have been overwhelmed by the demand from our corporate partners in the first few weeks of our lab-based PCR testing operations at Sci-Tech Daresbury, which provides results within 24 to 48 hours.
“The instant testing devices may not be as accurate as ‘back to lab’ PCR testing but they are faster, more cost-effective, do not require laboratory analysis and are certainly fit for purpose.
“Additionally, they overcome the current issue of the shortage of PCR lab testing.
“We are in the process of ramping up our own PCR laboratory services, but have also recognised that businesses in critical sectors such as logistics and distribution, energy and infrastructure, construction and manufacturing have been seeking a means for the rapid mass screening of their workforce onsite.
“The new antigen kit detects the presence of the virus, using nose and throat samples, and gives a robust and reliable result in 15 minutes without the need for lab analysis.
“By utilising this new type of Covid-19 test, employers are able to speedily identify and isolate infected employees from the general workforce while minimising spread, helping to reduce absenteeism due to self-isolation.
“The test can be self-administered or be carried out by a company’s occupational health team or our sample collectors.
“While the instant Covid-19 antigen Test and the Covid-19 PCR test are both effective methods for detecting the presence of the virus, the instant antigen test delivers quicker results.”
The test works by combining the samples with a buffer liquid, which is then dropped into the simple well on the immunoassay device. A grey line appears if the Covid-19 antigen is present. If the grey line appears, the tested individual should follow government guidance on quarantining and self-isolation.
David added: “Demand for coronavirus tests is significantly outstripping capacity across the UK.
“This is the first instant Covid-19 antigen test kit in the UK to help workplaces deal with the shortage of ‘back to lab’ PCR tests.”