A clinical trial of a new rapid COVID-19 testing system that delivers results in under an hour is being carried out at care homes in East London.
In a UK-first, Queen Mary University of London is leading the trial, which is taking place in 50 care homes, in partnership with East London Health and Care Partnership.
Professor Jo Martin from Queen Mary University of London, who is leading the study, said: “This work has the potential to bring a new rapid COVID-19 testing system to those at highest risk, and help interrupt community transmission. If found to be successful in care homes, it could be very useful in a wide range of settings, helping to make a quick diagnosis and keep an environment free of COVID-19.”
Efforts to control the virus in care homes are currently being hindered by limitations in testing with it taking days to swab a person suspected of having COVID-19, send the sample to a laboratory and receive the results.
The rapid PCR based testing system has been developed by Novacyt to deliver an accurate result within an hour.
Residents, staff and visitors in 25 care homes will receive daily testing on the rapid testing machines which each have the capacity to process up to 100 samples a day. Meanwhile, as a comparison, another 25 care homes will receive the standard central laboratory testing once a week.
Binu Varghese, Care Manager at Beis Pinchos Nursing Home in Stoke Newington, Hackney, which is taking part in the trial, said: “Our primary focus is the care of our residents and staff. We are delighted to take part in this trial. We hope this innovative testing technology helps our people and can be used in care homes across the world.”