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26 August, 2020 - 20:51 By Tony Quested

Many happy returns with Cambridge technology

A new Cambridge business has launched a COVID-19 test backed by a wellness programme to help companies ease locked down staff back to work without risk.

ReCoVa-19 technology can identify asymptomatic spreaders (those with disease but no symptoms) and pre-symptomatic spreaders (those infected but yet to show symptoms) – both groups that the current routine government testing programmes do not identify. 

ReCoVa-19 offers employers options – either a completely proactive solution, testing for COVID-19 infection and immunity, with ongoing onsite monitoring, or to monitor health and provide reactive testing for suspect infections. 

The programme uses a UKAS accredited ISO15189 laboratory which is also serving NHS Covid testing needs, backed by a management portal that allows confidential paperless handling of all data. 

The programme offers a daily wellness symptom checker app with a 15 second employee check in. Symptoms are flagged up in the management portal and antigen testing (for active infection) is provided for suspect cases.

This level of testing can continue over time for teams and individuals. The company also offers antibody tests within MHRA guidelines. The third level of testing is environmental (looking for virus on surfaces) to ensure that cleaning practices are completely effective and commensurate with the challenge. 

Even before its official launch, the team attracted the interest of occupational health companies, production companies, film crews and travel companies keen to do business safely in the ‘new normal’ environment. The programmes are now being actively used across those sectors. 

The senior management team behind ReCoVa-19 has 150 years of combined experience in this area. It includes lead scientist Dr Tony Cooke, who is also CEO at Cambridge Clinical Laboratories, Andrew Halliday, an authority on health and wellness apps – particularly in the travel sector – and Clive Minihan, who has 30 years’ experience with technology startups. The chair is Professor Stephen K Smith, who has held senior positions in the NHS and Imperial College, London. 

Dr Cooke said: “The nation needs everyone to be safely back at work and it is clear to us that diverse industry sectors have different needs, both with respect to the challenges faced in the working environment and the sustainable cost of testing at a level that helps protect staff. 

“Concerns over obligations with regard to the health and safety of employees and uncertainty are also significant barriers to returning to workplaces but with the level of testing and support we can provide that’s no longer necessary.”

ReCoVa-19 says it is able to make a bespoke recommendation for any workplace, taking into account specific risk factors. Its portal allows managers to see all the results at a glance while ensuring the data is kept secure and confidential. 

Dr Cooke says that the ‘fair value’ ethos of ReCoVa-19 also ensures that its programmes are accessible for businesses of all types and sizes.

• Employers can find more details about the programme at recova-19.com

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