New non-invasive Covid test from Cambridge innovator
Cambridge’s Intelligent Fingerprinting, which makes a globally unique fingerprint sweat drug detector, has developed a simple saliva-based lateral flow test for rapid detection of the COVID-19 antigen.
In contrast to existing COVID-19 probes that require invasive nose and throat swabs, Intelligent Fingerprinting’s test is said to use a simple swab to collect a saliva sample just from the inside the cheek.
The company anticipates doing millions of tests each month from its Cambridge facility.
The test strip is deliberately simple in design and engineered to keep plastic usage to a minimum – with none of the plastic casing present usually associated with lateral flow tests.
The inventive saliva sample collection makes it particularly suitable for testing more vulnerable people and children, the company claims. It facilitates frequent testing across a range of applications including schools, workplaces, public events, care homes, healthcare, airports and prisons. Test results are available in 20 minutes – a third quicker than most current nose and throat lateral flow tests.
Executive chairman Philip Hand said: “Almost everyone who has taken a nose or throat swab to test for COVID-19 knows just how unpleasant they can be. It is important to make COVID-19 testing as easy and comfortable as possible, particularly as frequent and simplified testing will continue to play a key role in the global response to the pandemic.
“In developing our new COVID-19 saliva test we have successfully combined the benefits of much simpler sample collection with high levels of accuracy using our existing technology.
“The introduction of our new COVID-19 test involved rapid design, development and manufacture within the UK over a 10-month period. Manufacturing capacity at our Cambridge plant, utilising existing equipment and ISO 13485 quality control, is ready to support the production of millions of tests per month.
“We also anticipate we will be working with existing and new distribution partners to make this test available across multiple markets.“