Urgent UK government request: supply of covid-19 antigen testing kits

The BIA (UK Bioindustry Association) is helping the UK Government (Office for Life Sciences) to raise awareness of an urgent call out to the life sciences sector to help increase the supply of antigen testing kits for COVID-19.

Following a press statement on March 26, the requirement is for commercial supply of the following:
* Full testing packages (specification below)
* Any of the separate components within the testing package
* Any alternative tests government should be considering

The specification for testing kit is as follows:

1. Swabs:

  • Nasopharangeal (Floxsynthetic fiber tipped (polyester) or flocked swabs) with polystyrene shafts that are scored at 80 mm for a breakpoint
  • Nasopharyngeal (minitip) are currently preferred
  • No discoloration on the swab bud (i.e. yellowing or brown discoloration).
  • Sterilised and individually wrapped
  • No calcium alginate swabs
  • No swabs with wooden shafts
  • Nose and throat swabs (Rayon tipped – FDA review in process)

2. Sample Vial – Glass (20.25 +- 0.25 x 47.25+- 0.5) & Plastic (TBD)
3. Viral transport medium / Covid-19 transport medium
4. Alcohol/Sanitiser wipes
5. Re-packaging (storage/biohazard packaging)

  • Vial wrap – Specification TBD
  • Sealed zip lock bag
  • Second bag (plastic/cushioned)
  • Sealable container – ‘Biobottle’
  • Postal ‘biobox’

In addition, there is also a requirement for swabs for PCR diagnostic testing.
Any organisations that can supply for sale any or all of the above should email:covid19testing@dhsc.gov.uk as soon as possible.

Picture credit: Martin Sanchez

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