By Kristy Dorsey
Provisional research has shown that the rapid Covid-19 test in which Scotland’s Omega Diagnostics is involved has an accuracy of more the 97 per cent, the highest of four such tests that were reviewed.
The study, performed by scientists at Public Health England (PHE), has yet to be evaluated by the medical community as part of the usual peer review process and could therefore contain errors in its assumptions and methods. However, it was welcomed by the chairman of the UK Rapid Test Consortium (UK-RTC), of which Omega is a member.
The consortium’s AbC-19 lateral flow test uses a small drop of blood from a finger prick to determine within 20 minutes whether a person has antibodies to fend off Covid-19. The study by PHE, in conjunction with the universities of Bristol, Warwick and Cambridge, found that all four of the testing devices examined had an accuracy of more than 92%, with AbC-19 the highest at 97.3%.
“This research on the different use cases for lateral flow antibody tests is welcome,” said Chris Molloy, chair of the UK-RTC.
“The AbC-19 test is an important weapon in the global fight against Covid-19. It allows us to see the neutralising IgG antibodies produced in response to infection, or after vaccination.”
Shares in Omega closed more than 16% higher yesterday on the news, up 13p at 93p.
The results come after Prime Minister outlined the important role that lateral flow tests could play in reviving the UK economy. In his Covid-19 briefing on Monday evening, Boris Johnson said that he hopes people will be able to return to nightclubs and theatres through the use of rapid Covid-19 tests.
Omega confirms Covid testing contract
Last week, Omega confirmed that it has been chosen to help supply the UK Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) with millions of lateral flow antigen tests for Covid-19. The intention is that once the DHSC has access to a test that has successfully passed a performance evaluation, it will be licensed to Omega for manufacture.
The company is ramping up capacity at its headquarters in Alva to produce approximately two million tests per week by the end of April. Omega’s house analyst, FinnCap, has said this could generate between £150 million and £200m of additional annual revenues for the Scottish company.
Staff headcount at Alva has increased from 60 to more than 120 people.