Small Cambridgeshire firm launches COVID-19 antibody lab-based testing service UK-wide

Lucy Harley-McKeown
·2-min read
Most airports may now also have an onsite COVID-19 testing centre. Photo: Patrick T Fallon/AFP via Getty
Most airports may now also have an onsite COVID-19 testing centre. Photo: Patrick T Fallon/AFP via Getty

A Cambridgeshire-based firm has launched a COVID-19 antibody testing service that will deliver tests to practitioners in the UK.

Omega Diagnostics (ODX.L) said it would initially offer the Mologic ELISA antibody test to selected UK-based commercial occupational health practitioners, clinics and healthcare professionals.

The test has been launched through its in-house testing laboratory service in Littleport, Cambridgeshire.

Antibodies are released by the immune system in response to an infection. If picked up by a blood test, it implies an individual has fought off the coronavirus and may have some protection against it should they be exposed again.

The AIM-listed company also produces lateral flow tests — a product that has been a mainstay of the UK government’s testing strategy. It has said that by April it will have the capacity to produce 2 million lateral flow tests per week due to scaled up production.

Despite the news of the launch, the company’s stock price fell by around 4.4% by mid-morning in London, after jumping at market open.

The company said the capillary blood sample collection pack is sent to healthcare professionals who then send the patient's sample back to the Company's laboratory, where the test is then run.

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Test results are then sent back to each healthcare professional who informs the patient of their result and provides advice as necessary.

Colin King, CEO of Omega said: "We are pleased that we have delivered on our committed timeline for the launch of the lab testing service. This highlights our ability to react to changing market needs and utilises the skills and expertise of our long-established service Laboratory."

Last year, the government bought 10 million antibody testing kits from the pharmaceutical giants Roche and Abbott after Public Health England (PHE) studies suggested their effectiveness.

Experts have previously warned, however, the coronavirus is novel. It is therefore unclear how long immunity lasts or even if it exists at all.

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