Coronavirus: new fast and accurate antibody test system developed

A serological screening machine with a claimed capacity of up to 3000 tests a day that produces results in 35 minutes with 99.8% accuracy has been developed by Quotient in Scotland and Switzerland. The blood-screening firm is now keen to hold talks with UK ministers amid interest from Europe for the machines.

Quotient said the test can spot whether a person has developed antibodies to the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus, and understanding immunity could help ease lockdown if it is clear who is not at risk of catching or spreading the virus.

Chief executive Franz Walt, who was managing director of the Singapore-based Roche laboratory which developed the first diagnostic test for SARS in 2003, said: "We are truly proud to have developed such a fast and accurate test. This is an outstanding performance by our teams both in Edinburgh and Switzerland.

"We now want to make sure that we can help as many people as possible as quickly as possible. We have strong roots in the UK and want to speak to ministers there so MosaiQ can be used in the national effort to tackle coronavirus and relaunch the economy. We realise ministers and the NHS are incredibly busy but are keen to talk given the strong interest from across Europe in the product."

Quotient has received European regulatory approval for the MosaiQ serological screening machine, which is claimed to offer 100% sensitivity and 99.8% specificity, meaning there is a low chance of a misread or false-positive result. Quotient has 12 screening machines available which can process up to 36,000 tests a day or 252,000 a week. A further 20 are expected to be ready by the end of the year.