latest health care news

03.09.20

Next generation testing technology backed by £500m funding package

The UK Government has committed a new £500m funding package to be invested into next generation testing technology and increased testing capacity.

Announced by Health Secretary Matt Hancock, the new funding will allow for further large-scale trials into quick result Covid-19 testing.

Already, the country’s coronavirus testing system has carried out 16 million tests, with hopes the additional funding and potential innovations to come out of it can help elevate the programme to the next level, in both capacity and efficiency.

Funding will also be used to further extend capacity for existing polymerase chain reaction (PCR) testing across the country, ahead of the winter period. All positive test results will be notified to the NHS Test and Trace system to trace contacts and reduce the risk of further transmission.

Mr Hancock said: “Testing is a vital line of defence in combating this pandemic.

“Over the past six months we have built almost from scratch one of the biggest testing systems in the world. We need to use every new innovation at our disposal to expand the use of testing, and build the mass testing capability that can help suppress the virus and enable more of the things that make life worth living.

“We are backing innovative new tests that are fast, accurate and easier to use and will maximise the impact and scale of testing, helping us to get back to a more normal way of life.

“I am hugely grateful for the work being done on this national effort to strengthen our ability to tackle this virus. While we work on a vaccine, we must innovate our way out of this crisis.”

A new, community-wide trial is set to be launched imminently in Salford to assess the benefits of repeat population testing. Existing, promising trials in Southampton and Hampshire, using a saliva test and a rapid 20-minute test, are also set to be expanded using the new funding.

Using cutting-edge technology to roll out rapid tests, chains of transmissions can be broken much more swiftly – with the goal being to be able to deliver on-the-spot results, cutting out additional infections.

Successful trials which come out of this funding package will be expanded and rolled out more widely.

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