The life sciences industry has released a joint statement on COVID-19 testing and diagnostics as the Government confirms that testing capacity will increase.
The statement is from the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry (ABPI), the Association of British HealthTech Industries (ABHI), the BioIndustry Association (BIA), and the British In Vitro Diagnostic Association (BIVDA).
“The life sciences industry, both multi-national organisations and smaller companies, has mobilised in an unprecedented way to make COVID-19 tests available. As SARS-CoV-2, the virus which causes COVID-19, is a new virus, tests have been developed from a standing start and fast-tracked for use through worldwide regulatory bodies such as the US’ FDA and the EU’s CE marking system.
“Strong partnership working between industry and Government, is ensuring that at this most critical time, the NHS can accurately test every member of its staff and patients. This includes provision of the multitude of additional materials required to take, preserve and prepare patient samples for testing.
“Inevitably, with the urgent and unprecedented demand for the new antigen tests across the world, demand is out-stripping supply. A balance needs to be struck between rolling out at rapid speed and ensuring testing can be delivered reliably across the UK.
“Laboratories and testing equipment of companies have been offered-up to supplement NHS/Public Health England capacity. The availability of additional testing facilities must be explored urgently.
“We would urge the prioritisation of antigen testing to those who are showing clear symptoms requiring hospitalisation, and to develop testing protocols for healthcare workers and other key workers currently in self-isolation to enable them to return to work more quickly, where appropriate.
“In the coming weeks, Government will need to prepare for the next phase of the COVID-19 response. Attention therefore must turn to antibody testing to complement antigen testing. It is paramount that effort is directed to support innovators who are working in this field, to enable a secure supply chain of high quality, validated products.”