Rapid Test Consortium Progresses to Design Freeze Stage
The Abingdon Health-led UK Rapid Test Consortium has reached a ‘design freeze’ for its proposed antibody test model after ten weeks of work. The group is composed of UK scientists and manufacturers who have been working since April to respond to the Department of Health and Social Care’s call for antibody test procurement. Professor John Bell, Regius Professor of medicine at Oxford University, asked Abingdon Health to work with experts at Oxford to begin the development process. This ‘design freeze’ milestone indicates that the technical design and manufacturing specifications are now ready for publishing and to move the project into the next stage. In normal circumstances, reaching this point would take ten months, yet the group has successfully fast-tracked its action to achieve this milestone in just ten weeks.
Manufacturing of the antibody test in large volumes is a clear objective held by the Consortium, however before this can occur there needs to be a scale-up of production processes, additional clinical testing and validation, and regulatory approval. Abingdon Health CEO, Chris Yates said: “The results of our initial trials give us great confidence that our test will meet the regulatory thresholds defined by MHRA for a COVID-19 antibody testing kit. We then look forward to moving to mass production. The next stage of scaling-up production and further testing is to commence immediately and could be finalised by the end of August. It is hoped the test will be a key model for a lateral flow antibody test ready for widespread use in home settings.