London-based genetic testing specialist QLU Health is prioritising development and availability of rapid home testing kits for coronavirus/COVID-19.
Investment had already been earmarked for an accelerated growth plan, but a substantial proportion has been diverted to address the coronavirus threat after the reality of the issue was brought home when key QLU staff were impacted.
“There’s much talk of the ‘new normal’. We’re seeing it manifested in a general reluctance to leave the home, with a significant proportion of our website traffic from elements of the population who are acutely aware of the risks, and who want certainty of the medical status of themselves and their family,” said the Company.
“The priority quickly developed into support of the ‘all hands on deck’ movement, but we’re well aware that the stresses of healthcare emergencies often expedite innovation to the benefit of both those in need, and businesses which will be fighting hard to maintain income.
“Our initial aim has been to help tackle and progressively defeat COVID-19. Our longer-term aim is to become the go-to trusted brand for all sorts of home health testing – and stress-testing the business itself will be a crucial element in that journey.
“The sudden desperate need for coronavirus/COVID-19 testing illustrates how important access to simple tests are. We will be helping move resources for any future return of the virus.
“With technology making huge strides forward and costs coming down, it’s quite possible that home testing will become much more accessible, very quickly.
“We have fast-tracked our COVID-19 testing project. While we have built a portfolio of home use genetic testing for nutrition, cancer, cardiac and gut issues it’s always been our intention to offer a full range of home health tests – and ‘needs must’ has always been an innovation driver. Last Christmas the world had never heard of COVID-19, let alone considered a treatment.
“Rapid testing products have been trialled and assessed, and we believe we have identified the best test solution to bring to our customers as fast as possible.”
Rapid coronavirus/COVID-19 testing has been developed by several firms with whom QLU has agreed partnerships. While specific tests vary, a common approach works by searching for the antibodies which are indicators of the virus. Tests use lateral flow immunoassay used to qualitatively detect IgG and IgM antibodies of the novel coronavirus in human serum, plasma or whole blood in vitro.