Norwich company hopes its rapid Covid tests can be used at Norfolk hospital
- Credit: Si Barber
The Norwich-based producer of a rapid coronavirus test is in talks about it being used at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital.
Iceni Diagnostics, based at Norwich Research Park, has come up with a test which it says can show, in just 15 minutes, if somebody has Covid-19.
Hundreds of batches of the company's tests were taken to the government's labs in Porton Down before Christmas for independent analysis and the company is still awaiting the results.
But, in the meantime, through the Norwich Research Park's links with the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital, discussions are under way about testing out the effectiveness of the tests at the Colney hospital.
The Iceni Diagnostics test differs from tests the government has used in places such as Liverpool.
It identifies the live virus, rather than the genetic material with traces of Covid-19 - which can be present when the person is no longer infectious.
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It can also show if somebody has normal flu, rather than Covid-19.
Dr Simone Dedola, lead scientist at Iceni Diagnostics, said: "We are still waiting for an answer from the government and we knew it would take some time.
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"But we are really pushing things in other directions as well. The Norwich Research Park has put us in touch with the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital and we are trying to roll out some independent clinical evaluation there.
"That independent clinical testing is absolutely key at this stage."
Dr Dedola said: "I hope it is going to happen very soon. We had conversations before Christmas and they were keen to start doing something."
Before Christmas, Iceni Diagnostics was handed a welcome fillip, with commitments from 35 different investors, which will provide it with a £2m boost in 2021.
The company has also been talking to both public sector and commercial buyers, both domestically and in the United States.
Dr Dedola said the tests had also been used at a number of care homes in Cambridgeshire.
He said: "I think things are moving in the right direction. I really hope we can finalise the collaboration with the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital as the clinical evaluation is so important."