Funding awarded to develop a rapid diagnostic test for COVID-19
Mologic, a leading developer of lateral-flow and rapid diagnostic technologies, has been awarded around £1 million by the Wellcome Trust and the Department for International Development (DFID), as part of the UK government’s £46 million international coronavirus (COVID-19) prevention and research funding package. The funding will be used by Mologic and global partners to develop a point-of-need diagnostic test for the virus, in addition to supporting the company to initiate research for novel vaccine candidates.
Mologic will build on its experience developing a rapid test kit for Ebola, which was also jointly funded by UK aid and the Wellcome Trust, to create a new hand-held diagnostics device to detect COVID-19. This will allow health officials to test for the virus at home or in the community, providing results in 10 minutes, without the need for electricity or a laboratory.
Rapid identification of the virus enables quicker quarantine and access to care, to support global efforts in preventing further spread – especially in vulnerable countries that have limited specialist facilities. Alongside work on diagnostics, UK aid is also supporting Mologic in the development of a COVID-19 vaccine candidate for further evaluation.
The company is working in close partnership with the Institut Pasteur de Dakar to validate and manufacture the COVID-19 test at a new manufacturing site, DiaTropix, in Senegal. This will be the first time that a diagnostics kit created in the UK will be jointly manufactured in Africa, to ensure its immediate availability, to manage any potential outbreaks on the continent, and further international spread. Global validation partners include; Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine and St George’s, University of London in Europe; the Wuhan Institute of Virology and the University of Malaya in Asia; and for Latin America, Fiocruz.