Coronavirus: Scots life sciences firm Omega to help make kits to test Covid-19 immunity

Shares in life sciences firm Omega Diagnostics have surged on the news that it is to help produce a Covid-19 antibody test to determine whether people have developed immunity after contracting the virus.

Omega Diagnostics' flagship Visitect CD4 product enables people with HIV to test their immune systems. Picture: contributed.

The Alva-based firm, which produces kits related to HIV, food intolerance and allergies, has signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with three other companies from across the UK, in conjunction with the University of Oxford, to form the UK Rapid Test Consortium to jointly develop and manufacture the kit as part of the UK government’s five-pillar national testing strategy.

The MOU is for an initial period of six months and those involved will collaborate to use their combined lateral flow test design and manufacturing expertise to optimise the design for potential accelerated scale-up to manufacturing of the Covid-19 Rapid Test.

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Once the Covid-19 Rapid Test reaches design freeze, then the specification and standard operating procedures will be shared to enable manufacturing and/or assembly to be undertaken at each site, including at Omega's manufacturing facility in Alva, according to capability.

Omega boss Colin King said: “We are delighted to be part of this consortium and to support the Scottish and UK governments’ efforts to combat the Coronavirus pandemic and look forward to using Omega’s manufacturing knowledge and capabilities in supporting and furthering this objective.”

Analysts at FinnCap said: “The market opportunity for cost-effective, high-volume antibody test is significant.”

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