Jabil to make Covid-19 test cartridges in Ireland

Jabil to make Covid-19 test cartridges in Ireland

Business news |
By Nick Flaherty

Contract manufacturer Jabil is to make Covid-19 test cartridges for the DnaNudge lab-free test system at a plant in Ireland.

The partnership with Jabil Healthcare will see high-volume manufacture of CovidNudge testing cartridges on a global scale, ramping to deliver 1.4 million units per month by early 2021

The cartirdges will be made at Jabil’s clean room manufacturing facility in Bray, Ireland. The cartridge has 72 tiny wells in its assay, known as a multiplex, that detects human RNA as well as viral RNA, to eliminate ‘false negatives’ by control testing for inadequate swab specimen collection technique. The test detects the presence of a number of the Covid-19 genes and can also test for flu and respiratory syncytial virus (RSV).

The ramp is needed to meet the order from the UK government for 5.8 million tests. The NudgeBox test machines, about the size of a shoebox, are being made by US company Benchmark at a plant just outside Amsterdam.

The CovidNudge test is a portable lab-free RT-PCR (reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction) process that delivers individual results in just over an hour. A paper published last month by peer-reviewed journal The Lancet Microbe showed the system has an average sensitivity – the ability to correctly identify those with Covid-19 – of 94.4 per cent, comparable to standard NHS lab-based tests, and a specificity – correctly identifying those without the disease – of 100 per cent, meaning no false positives.

The CovidNudge solution is currently being deployed UK-wide in NHS urgent patient care and elective surgery settings, plus out-of-hospital locations. 

“The value of our CovidNudge technology in helping to meet the needs of the pandemic is being recognised around the world, and we knew we needed a trusted partner to enable us to scale delivery and achieve speed to market,” said Professor Chris Toumazou, co-founder and CEO of DnaNudge. 

Next: Global Covid-19 test cartridge production

“In addition to its deep bench of expertise in mass production of complex technologies, Jabil’s footprint in Ireland and around the world will be vital in helping us accelerate availability of the CovidNudge test globally, and in enabling DnaNudge to offer to the mass market a rapid, accurate near-patient testing solution that has the potential to transform the pandemic response worldwide,” said Toumazou.

The CovidNudge test uses the gold-standard RT-PCR technique to test for the presence of the genetic material of the COVID-19 virus. The cartridge – manufactured by Jabil – can extract RNA from a naso-pharyngeal, nasal or buccal swab (inner cheek swab) sample, which is then inserted into the NudgeBox for analysis and reverse transcribing to DNA.

“The availability of rapid, high-accuracy testing performed at the point of patient specimen collection is a vital tool amid this COVID-19 pandemic that continues to spread,” said VP Global Business Units, Jabil, David Panneton. “We are thrilled to support DnaNudge’s efforts in the UK and globally and to apply our full healthcare manufacturing and supply chain solution set to meet this critical market demand.”

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