NEW YORK ─ The UK Department of Health and Social Care said on Monday that it has inked contracts with Omega Diagnostics and Global Access Diagnostics to enable manufacturing capacity for up to 200 million COVID-19 lateral flow antigen tests.
Under the contracts, Alva, UK-based Omega Diagnostics and Thurleigh, UK-based Global Access Diagnostics will each aim to produce approximately 2 million tests per week by the end of May, helping scale up the UK government’s rapid lateral flow testing program, DHSC said.
Financial and other terms of the agreement were not disclosed.
"Rapid lateral flow tests are an essential tool for identifying COVID-19 cases where people have no visible symptoms but could still be infectious and continue to spread the virus," Colin King, CEO of Omega Diagnostics, noted in a statement.
The UK government has helped it to secure the specialist machinery needed to increase the scale of its manufacturing capacity, he added.
The supply of lateral flow antigen tests, which detect positive cases in less than 30 minutes, will support the UK government’s plan to cautiously ease restrictions by helping to stop the spread of the virus, DHSC said.
The government contracts are further expected to create a total of around 470 jobs in Alva, Thurleigh, and other locations participating in the UK diagnostics industry supply chain.
Omega Diagnostics and Global Access Diagnostics are members of the UK Rapid Antigen Test Consortium, a coalition of industry scientists and manufacturers working to secure lateral flow tests and manufacturing capability for the UK.