Supporting the national effort to fight the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus

SYNLAB is providing the NHS with 24/7 SARS-CoV-2 testing from its Taunton laboratory. Not only does this laboratory provide regional services for NHS patients and staff in Somerset, but also undertakes testing for the NHS elsewhere in the UK, helping to increase access to the much-needed coronavirus tests.

Now into the fifth week of SARS-CoV-2 testing, SYNLAB’s Taunton laboratory – a pathology partnership with the NHS – has seen a continued increase in test numbers available since the service was introduced in March. Over the coming month, the company has plans in place to increase the total number of tests it can deliver to 1100 each day.

Clinical trials to evaluate antigen testing

At the same time, SYNLAB has been gearing up to undertake a series of clinical trials in partnership with the NHS to evaluate the use of antigen testing – a more rapid way of testing for SARS-CoV-2 within a hospital environment. This new approach could see test results available within 10–20 minutes instead of up to five hours. The trials will provide evidence about the effectiveness of these tests and how they can be used to improve the care of patients with COVID-19, as well as help manage the flow of patients in hospitals.

Leading the race to introduce a reliable antibody test

SYNLAB is also at the heart of developments to introduce a reliable antibody test, which is needed across the world to determine who has or has not had the virus. Working with a number of partners across Europe to evaluate and validate tests, the company is supporting research into how these tests might prove useful clinically in the UK.

SYNLAB has been preparing to undertake antibody testing at scale – thousands per day – as soon as a suitable test has been found and validated for use in the UK. In the meantime, it continues to work with colleagues and partners across SYNLAB, in public health, the NHS and the healthcare sector to deliver reliable, proven diagnostic tests and to support ongoing research into new testing solutions.

Sharing scarce, valuable resources

SYNLAB has donated three sets of test kits for two antibody tests to public health bodies in the past week. These kits are in very short supply, and having them will enable public health specialists to evaluate more of the various antibody tests currently under development.