The Scottish Government has agreed to buy machines that can produce coronavirus test results in 12 minutes, Scotland’s Trade Minister has announced.
A minimum of 500,000 coronavirus tests will be available for use with the 300 machines – if it is approved for use in Scotland – after the Government’s £6.76 million deal with UK-based firm LumiraDx.
Scotland’s Trade Minister Ivan McKee said the machines have the potential to “revolutionise the fight against the virus”.
Test strips for the machines will be made at the company’s Stirling factory, creating jobs in Scotland, Mr McKee told MSPs.
— LumiraDx (@LumiraDx) August 26, 2020
The Government said the portable design of the machines means they are well suited for local clinics and mobile units across Scotland’s rural and island communities.
The test is able to detect Covid-19 antigen proteins from a nasal swab, with results in under 12 minutes in symptomatic patients.
It was authorised for emergency use by the US Federal Drug Administration last week and is going through the final stages of validation for use in Scotland and Europe.
The Scottish Government also suggested that, following the initial order of 500,000 tests, a UK-wide agreement for future procurement is anticipated.
Announcing the purchase in the Scottish Parliament, Mr McKee said the fast turnaround of test results will be “of huge importance to our test and protect strategy”.
“This can revolutionise the fight against the virus,” he said.
“Looking ahead, we expect continued developments in testing capability by making sample collection simpler and turnaround times quicker.
“We continue to work on supply chain resilience and on future needs, and progress has been made to develop rapid point-of-care or near point-of-care testing, especially in remote areas.”
Chief executive and chairman of LumiraDx, Ron Zwanziger, added: “We designed our high-sensitivity platform to deliver fast, accurate and actionable diagnostic results near to the patient.
“We are proud to have a strong presence in Scotland with our research and manufacturing teams here and look forward to working with Scotland’s health systems to address the Covid-19 crisis in a way that’s affordable and accessible in community care settings.”