Government call-out to increase testing capacity

Government call-out to increase testing capacity
12 May 2020
The government wants help from businesses to increase testing capacity in the UK

The government has updated their call-out to businesses to increase testing capacity in the UK as part of its strategy to protect the NHS and save lives. Proposals need to be submitted by 5pm on Thursday 14 May 2020. The main body of the release is copied below:

Over time, we want to build a large diagnostic industry in this country able to tackle this challenge in the longer term. We’re encouraging the innovative minds of British academia and industry – large and small, across sectors – to dedicate their talents, ambitions and skills to that task.

What’s needed

In the short term, we must be focused on the challenge at hand, so we want to hear specifically from companies who can manufacture and supply:
  • consumables and equipment for coronavirus testing, in particular test kits (such as nose and throat swabs, transport media and vials) and RNA extraction lab consumables (such as reagents, plates and pipette tips)
  • new or existing types of coronavirus tests for antigens or antibodies. These must meet the requirement set out by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA). MHRA has published the specification for the required antibody test
We also want to hear from:
  • public or private sector organisations that can offer laboratory capacity. We have published further guidance about the criteria laboratories need to meet to partner with a local NHS trust
  • groups of organisations that can deliver a high throughput, end-to-end process that integrates home-based blood sampling with lab processing, using an ELISA or equivalent antibody test at a specificity >98% and sensitivity >95%. The solution should be able to deliver at least 10,000 tests a day in the first instance, with the potential to rapidly scale by mid-July. The group should nominate a lead organisation to act as a single point of contact with the government and proposals should be submitted by 5pm on Thursday 14 May 2020. See the serology end-to-end technical specification (PDF, 48.8KB, 2 pages)
We have teams of experts evaluating all the offers received. To ensure that their time is used most effectively, please use the forms below, which ensure your offers meet our requirements and can be directed to the right expert group. We will contact you as quickly as possible if your support is needed.

How to help

You can also help provide other forms of support, including personal protective equipment (PPE) for testing laboratories.


Further information

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